The Commerce Department's Minority Business Development Agency has awarded a District firm a grant of $243,049 to establish a minority-owned export trading company and a bank to finance the exporting efforts of U.S. minority-owned firms.
MBDA awarded the grant to Dyma Associates, a high-tech services company that is privately owned. The minority firm will seek investors to support the export trading company and the international merchant bank.
Thomas I. Ahart, the founding president of Dyma Associates, said a special stock offering will be made to help finance the exporting bank, which will engage in a variety of international trade-related financing activities. Ahart previously worked for the American Bankers Association.
The grant stems from the Export Trading Co. Act of 1982, which calls for the creation of export-trading companies. "There are many minority-owned businesses in the U.S. capable of exporting, but they are not doing so because of the inability to raise the necessary capital or cultivate overseas markets," said James H. Richardson, MBDA director.
As of early 1984, close to 85 percent of U.S. exports could be attributed to about 250 firms, most of which were Fortune 500 companies, according to the Commerce Department. Fifty companies exported 25 percent of all U.S. goods marketed abroad.
Dyma officials said that the potential benefits of export sales include an increase in sales and profits, new market opportunities and an alternative market if U.S. sales of a product fall.
A task force will be assembled by Dyma, including representatives of major corporations, government agencies, minority banks and minority-owned businesses interested in exporting. The group will develop policy guidelines and a marketing strategy for the bank and the export trading company, which will provide each participant with lower per-unit costs for exports because some of the expenses of exporting can be shared.
The trading company, which will be designed to export goods and services, also will be involved in consulting, international market research, advertising, marketing, insurance and transportation.
In addition, a foreign sales corporation could be established for the company, to give its members the option of deferring a portion of their taxes on revenue derived form goods and services that they export.
According to Commerce, about 6,000 minority businesses either currently are exporting or are considering exporting, most located in New York, Florida and California.
Dyma Associates, established in 1978, operates in Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Germany and several South American countries. It has been involved in international trade financing since 1979, when it coordinated a project for the U.S. Export-Import Bank.