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Facts You Should Know About OPIC Small Business Centers


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Created on September 26, 2012

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical world challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.

What is the SBC?

Building on OPIC’s outreach efforts to the small business community, the Small Business Center offers qualified small businesses the opportunity to utilize OPIC’s resources with improved customer service, flexible coverage and easier access through a streamlined approval process. Recognizing the financing needs facing many small businesses, the Center is committed to considering all applications within a 60-day period. The SBC is made up of experienced OPIC personnel who are dedicated to working with small businesses.

Why was the SBC created?

OPIC is committed to helping America’s small businesses grow through investments in over 150 emerging markets around the world. They recognizes that small businesses looking to participate in the global marketplace have unique requirements. Lack of resources to pursue opportunities abroad, concern over political risks, or the inability to find private sector support can prevent U.S. small business from expanding overseas. The SBC will help meet these needs by providing financing and political risk insurance to eligible small businesses.

Who is eligible?

Any U.S. small business with annual revenues less than $35 million its eligible for SBC programs. For businesses with annual revenues over $35 million and under $250 million. OPIC’s regular small business programs are available.

What is the SBC Political Risk Protection Program?

To protect a small business’ overseas investment against political uncertainties, the SBC provides insurance against loss or damages resulting from political violence, such as terrorism or war, nationalization or expropriation by a foreign government, or the inability to convert local currency and repatriate profits. Businesses receiving SBC loans can utilize OPIC's insurance wrap which provides political risk insurance at a reduced rate. The SBC loan borrower may elect this insurance coverage for up to $6 million of their equity investments. Pricing will be based on a one-time fee for the life of the OPIC loan up to 15 years. For non-borrowers, OPIC’s regular insurance product is available. There are no minimum investment size requirement for either product.

What is the SBC Finance Program?

Loan amounts for overseas investments range from $100,000 to $10 million with terms from 3-15 years. Interest rates will be capped at seven percent above OPIC’s cost of funds for comparable maturities. In addition, there may be one-time facility fee of up to two percent and an annual maintenance fee not to exceed one percent of the outstanding balance of the loan. While the eligible U.S. small business must own at least 25 percent of the overseas project, OPIC may be able to finance up to 65 percent of the total project costs.

What is the application process?

For financing, the small business needs to submit a completed finance application, formal business plan, and sponsor disclosure forms. The small business does not need to submit any additional information for the insurance wrap. However, non-borrowers who want political risk protection need to register their project, complete an insurance application, and provide a formal business plan. The approval process will take 60 days from the time of submission of completed documents.

For more information, visit OPIC’s website at

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Last updated: 04/19/2017 - 4:11pm