Fireblast Global | 2014 Small Business Exporter of the Year
Corona, California based manufacturer of advanced live fire training simulators grows revenues by securing contracts in Canada, Russia, and Korea
Fireblast Global, Inc. a Corona, California based designer and manufacturer of advanced live fire training simulators for fire service personnel and fire departments, will receive this year’s 2014 Small Business Exporter of the Year Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Santa Ana District Office in recognition of the company’s growth through exporting its products and services to foreign markets.
The company’s decision to enter international markets began in 2012, when Leah Martin, Chief Operating Officer of Fireblast Global approached the company’s Chief Executive Officer to discuss their expansion. During Martin’s research, she came across the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce office in the Inland Empire and began communicating with its director, Fred Latuperissa. Throughout 2013, Ms. Martin secured various relationships with Commercial Officers and Commercial Specialist around the globe, who helped set phone conferences and face-to-face meetings for the purposes of finding international partners in several of their key regions for Fireblast Global training equipment.
Around the same time, Martin was introduced to Pellson Lau, International Trade Specialist at the SBA, to discuss SBA guaranteed international trade financing. Almost immediately she was able to secure a relationship with an internationally experienced bank and secure an SBA loan. Since that point, Fireblast Global has successfully attained contracts in Canada, Russia, and various US military bases, obtained representatives in Canada, the European Union, India, China, and Korea, and has developed distributors in Mexico and Russia.
“Many small businesses let fear of the unknown hold them back from considering exporting as a viable option to increase revenues. The success of Fireblast Global demonstrates that these fears are unfounded or greatly reduced, especially when working with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service and U.S. Small Business Administration,” said J. Adalberto Quijada, District Director for the SBA’s Santa Ana District Office.
Fireblast Global, which has 33 employees, has received several SBA guaranteed loans in its history, including two 7(a) loans that have been paid in full; a $700,000 7(a) International Trade loan made by GBC International Bank to finance long term export working capital; and a 504 loan of $977,000 from Southland EDC to purchase owner-occupied commercial real estate. The company is engaging in conversations with representatives in the Middle East, Japan, Latin America, and South America, and utilizing the U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key Program to facilitate face-to-face meetings with these potential customers.
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, in order to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. As part of National Small Business Week, SBA takes the opportunity to highlight their impact, working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.