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Several initiatives are intended to assist small firms in obtaining working capital to initiate or extend their export activities. For example, the Working Capital Guarantee programme of the US Eximbank covers 90% of the principal and accrued interest on loans to SMEs to buy or produce goods and/or to provide services for export. In Australia, the Export Working Capital Guarantee provides guarantees to banks for the provision of working capital necessary to support export contracts for smaller firms. Similarly, Finnvera has financing and guarantee products to support the working capital needs of SMEs.

Canada has two programmes to enhance working capital availability for SME exporters. The Master Accounts Receivables Guarantee (MARG) provides banks and financial institutions with a guarantee for loans 'to SME borrowers up to CAD 500 000, which are secured by all of an exporters' short-term foreign accounts receivables. The Pre-Shipment Working Capital programme provides banks with a risk-shared guarantee for working capital advanced to deliver on a specific SME export contract.

Export credit agencies have also developed special programmes involving private sector intermediaries (e.g. banks, insurance companies, brokers) designed to encourage SME exporting activities. Turkey's Pre-Shipment Export Credit Programme specifies that intermediary commercial banks must disburse at least 30% of their credit limit to exporters with up to 200 employees; firms operating in Priority Development Areas can also benefit from lower interest rates. In Austria, the "Österreichischer Exportfonds GmbH" is a specialised institution which provides facilities for financing short-term exports of smaller firms. Switzerland uses banks as important partners for extending advisory activities to small exporters.

The US Eximbank leverages its resources by partnering with city and state organisations, trade associations, lenders and others with knowledge of the local exporting community, which help the Eximbank to reach many small businesses unaware of the services available to them. Under the Priority Lending Program (PLP), lenders who have made at least two transactions under the Working Capital Guarantee Program may submit a complete write-up of the exporter and transaction and be given a 10-day turnaround on their application. The Delegated Authority Program (DA) allows qualified lenders to commit an Eximbank guarantee without further analysis.

The Canadian EDC has several “umbrella type” short-term credit insurance policies with selected banks and financial intermediaries that provide cover for receivables that are discounted by the bank or financial intermediary and which are extensively used by SME exporters. Two other EDC programmes -- Export Ease and Export Ease Plus -- combine EDC insurance with private invoice and collection services.


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