SBA Director Uses Raleigh Denim to Announce New Plan to Boost Small Business Exports
A commonly understood principle of the American Dream is that anyone can open a small business, and with a little luck and a lot of hard work, that business could grow into an empire. That's how it worked for R.H. Macy, Col. Sanders, and countless others.
But few get into it thinking they will become a major exporter in their field.
The Small Business Administration wants that to change, however, and used a Raleigh jeans maker to unveil its participation in the North Carolina Passport to Exports program. The goal is to assist small businesses in finding buyers and distributors for their products in the global market.
SBA chief Karen Mills stopped at Raleigh Denim on Sept. 27 to announce that over $600,000 in federal money is coming to the state to help businesses like Raleigh Denim, which makes and sells jeans in Raleigh, NC.
Founders Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko founded the hand-stitched jeans company in their living room four years ago. It has grown to 16 employees and has sold 10,000 pairs of jeans. With this money, the Lytvinenkos could reach out to clothing buyers in other countries who might open new markets for their products.
"The most room for growth is overseas," Victor Lytvinenko told WRAL. "We can still grow here a bit, but the markets overseas are interested in American-made goods. They're interested in quality. They're interested in American authenticity."
Mills said Raleigh Denim is exactly the type of business it wants to help.
"We're going to increase the number of small businesses and innovative entrepreneurs like this who make terrific products that compete all around the world and help them export," Mills said. "That creates jobs in this country."
North Carolina will match about $150,000 in funds.