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Santa Cruz County Bank helps small business grow

October 22, 2015

With over 20 years of experience in the business of making high tech furnaces for the fabrication of semiconductor wafers, Jonathan George, President of Expert Semiconductor Technology, a small business located in Scotts Valley, CA, has seen a lot of change in the industry.  His Expertech furnaces, or reactors, are integral to the manufacture of not just semiconductors, but also for solar cell and micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication.  And with the global explosion of the semiconductor industry, the market for these reactors is now global as well. 

“To stay competitive in a dynamic international setting requires both cutting edge innovation and fiscal prudence,” notes George.  Expertech has made big strides on both fronts.  Its latest Compact Thermal Reactor (CTR) line offers a small footprint furnace ideal for R&D work in university and government labs and for pilot lines worldwide.  Demand is growing and sales to foreign buyers now constitute about a third of Expertech’s annual revenue with buyers in Australia, Singapore, and the European Union. 

At the same time, lowering overhead costs is just as essential for consistent profitable operations.  And thanks to a loan from Expertech’s community banking partner, the company was able to purchase and move into a new, larger facility near the one it had been leasing.  “Not only is the new building better suited to our needs, thanks to the financing we lined up, our overhead costs are lower,” said George. 

“We were delighted to be able to help this Santa Cruz-based small business buy the property they needed,” said Sati Kanwar, a Senior Vice President at Santa Cruz County Bank.  “Because the expansion supported the growth of Expertech’s foreign sales, we were able to put this loan together with a special US Small Business Administration export loan guarantee called the International Trade Loan.” 

With its new facility in Scotts Valley and growing export sales, Expertech has already been able to add 2 new employees.  The future looks bright for Expertech, small business know-how, community banking, and US exports. 

SBA is eager to support US exporters who are entering or building their international business.  “Exporting is an opportunity for small businesses as well as large ones,” said Jeff Deiss, SBA’s regional export manager, “and SBA has loan guarantees designed to make it easier for small exporters to get the financing they need – whether the need be for working capital or fixed assets.” 

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