Global New York Meets For Breakfast
Two woman executives from GNY, a senior vice president and a senior director of development, began the presentation with a short promotional film and then explained how the grant and loan processes work. GNY offers both grants and loans to applicants who show that they can make contact with and gain the interest of parties in countries that range from nearby Canada to distant China. Later they took questions about the granting and lending and what conditions will either allow grants and loans to applicants or deny them.
Erin Cole, a senior vice president at GNY, began by emphasizing that it is a state entity. If for no other reason, she did that to express puzzlement over the anti-government attitude so often expressed by businesspersons. Such an attitude was not to be found in the short promotional film that followed. Persons from several New York businesses, such as Liberty Pumps, a manufacturer from Bergen, NY, in the Rochester area, called GNY’s operation “simple and to the point,” or said it helped the testifying company “open up markets we’d never seen before.” (By the evidence of what was said, more than a few of those markets are in China, where GNY has a Shanghai office.) Cole said all testimonies were voluntary.
She was joined in the presentation by Huey-Min Chang, senior director of business and economic development. She said GNY makes its appeal to companies with 500 or fewer employees, which are either for-profit or non-profit, with funding to allow them to travel individually or as part of a trade mission to meet representatives in countries of interest to them. Grants for for-profits are larger than for non-profits and range from $10,000 to $25,000. A $10,000 grant requires a minimum $20,000 in investment, and one way to gain it would be by bundling all investment components. Using outside help for such matters as branding might also be permitted. And though $25,000 is the maximum for a grant, it is possible to submit a second grant application.
Whether for for-profit or non-profit companies, grants are issued only as reimbursement, and only for expenses incurred after application and approval. Expenses already covered when companies submit their applications cannot be reimbursed. There is a 90-day window on GNY grant applications.
Chang pointed out that one-on-one consulting on export matters is available from EMAS, the Export Marketing Assistance Service, which has staffers located statewide, with the main office in New York city. With help from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), which is a permissible source for trade missions, STEP or State Trade and Export Promotion grants are available for companies trying to establish an export business and those companies with some experience of it. The multi-party trade missions growing out of this would include 14 NYS-located companies that made a recent visit to Barcelona. Eight of them continued to Indonesia and Vietnam, though only as visitors. A mission to Johannesburg is on schedule for next spring.
GNY states that the loan fund exists “for New York state companies seeking to create or expand direct exports or serve as suppliers to larger exporters.” (An initiative for distilled and fermented beverage exports, which can award loans covering 50 percent of costs to brewers and winemakers, has a place here. One envisions NYS microbrewers exporting India pale ale to India, and other countries too.) Loans for as much as $500,000 are available.
Financing is handled through banks, which provide underwriting. (When questioned about just what banks are involved, Chang declined to offer names, though companies in the application process are bound to find out which ones.) No more than two enrolled loans per borrower are permitted, and no loan is to exceed 10 years of life. In the event of default, ESDC pays first loss on the financing. Term loans and lines of credit are also available. No unguaranteed portions of an Export-Import Bank loan can be enrolled. There is a 10 percent loan loss reserve.
When someone asked how to get started, Chang told him he should do a lot of market research and compile a list of leading prospects. Answering another question from him, she said there is no grant assistance for Underwriters Laboratory, UL, which is in some but not all foreign countries.