and medium-sized companies needing up to $150,000 to finance the sale
of goods or services abroad need look no further than Nextrade, a
new export financing program offered by the Saskatchewan Trade and
Export Partnership (STEP).
"We're announcing a federal-provincial
partnership that will create a $1.7-million micro-credit program to
help small and medium-sized exporters with bridge financing,”
said Industry and Resources Minister Eric Cline at a news conference
The "micro-credit” financing
facility was made possible by a $1.725-million contribution from the
federal-provincial Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA),
a four-year, $25-million economic development fund.
Cline said most of Saskatchewan's exporters
are small- to medium-sized companies with little or no access to export
financing assistance from Export
Canada (EDC) or other financial institutions.
"Smaller exporters are sometimes
forced to access personal credit or, worse yet, walk away from great
export opportunities,” said Cline. "It's not good for business,
and it's not good for the province.”
Nextrade will provide $20,000 to $150,000,
allowing the exporter to turn export sales into cash immediately and
generate cash flow between the time the goods are shipped and payment
Industry and Resources is contributing
$1.2 million to finance the Nextrade loan fund, while WD will provide
another $500,000 to operate the program for the next three years.
David James, director general of Western
Economic Diversification, said offering Nextrade through STEP “speaks
well to the credibility of STEP,” a government-industry partnership
to expand exports of Saskatchewan goods and services.
Brown, chair of STEP, said the organization is made up of "small-
and medium-sized exporters of non-traditional exports, who face many
unique challenges in their efforts to market their goods and services
in the global marketplace. The greatest challenge is accessibility
of micro-credit export finance or, to be more precise, the lack of
that support,” said Brown, president of Trailtech, a trailer
manufacturer based in Gravelbourg.
"I believe Nextrade is the key
response to this issue.”
One exporter who thinks Nextrade could
help his business is Jim Ireland of ERIN Consulting Ltd., an environmental
consulting firm in Regina.
Ireland said the program makes "your
cash flow immediate and provides access to guaranteed payment. It
takes out the risk of not being paid. We're going to do our best to
take advantage of the program.”
Nextrade will begin accepting loan applications