Ex-Im Allows Organ Transplant Solutions Company To Have International Presence
Bridge to Life Solutions Ltd. – Columbia, South Carolina
Founded in 2005 in Columbia, South Carolina, Bridge to Life Solutions Ltd. saves lives through unique organ transplant solutions pioneered by the University of Wisconsin. The firm’s signature product, the Belzer UW® Cold Storage Solution, allows organs to be stored at room temperatures from 36° – 77°F. This way, if a power outage occurs, the organ survives. Bridge to Life has expanded into international markets in recent years, and like many other small business exporters, it uses the Ex-Im Bank.
“Ex-Im allowed us to build an international presence,” says John Bruens, chief commercial and business development officer of Bridge to Life. “Without Ex-Im Bank, I would have to tell my customers, ‘prepay everything up front or we can’t do business.’” By using Ex-Im accounts receivable insurance, Bridge to Life was able to extend credit terms to its customers, and sales soared.
Since then, exports have grown three times faster than domestic sales and now represent 45% of Bridge to Life’s revenue. The firm now operates in Australia, Canada, Colombia, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Turkey as well as the Middle East. As sales grew, so did jobs. Bridge to Life expanded from 3 employees to 25, and half of those positions depend on export markets.
If Ex-Im didn’t exist, Bridge to Life wouldn’t have been able to extend terms to its customers and grow into the exporter it is today. Without Ex-Im, Bridge to Life would have saved far fewer than the 50,000 – 100,000 lives it has already saved.
Bruens says Ex-Im played a vital role in the firm’s success: “It let us to move beyond the conversation with our customers of ‘How are we going to pay for it?’ to focusing on ‘How are we going to increase revenue?’ To get to the next stage of growth, we’re going to use it again. Letting the Ex-Im bank expire would eliminate my ability to talk about expansion.”