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"Help for Companies Facing Foreign Rivals"

Flavors of North America Inc., a developer of flavorings for food companies and drug makers, has held its own for more than a decade against much larger foreign competitors.

One recent ingredient of its success is a little-known U.S. Department of Commerce program called Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (TAAC), which helps manufacturers that are losing sales and jobs to international rivals.

TAAC, with a total budget last year of $10.5 million, makes grants of as much as $75,000. For some closely held firms with little borrowing capacity, the assistance spells the difference between treading water and lapping the field with new products and technology.

Carol Stream-based Flavors of North America used a $50,000 TAAC grant to finance new software and hire a chemist who developed a new line of tropical flavors, such as guava and kiwi. Revenues, which had fallen 7% to $4 million in 1994, are forecast to top $15 million this year. The company's 25 member workforce has grown to about 70.

"The government grant was the fuel we needed to launch ourselves into a much higher orbit," says owner and President Joseph Slawek. "We couldn't have borrowed the money from a bank. We needed our credit line kept open for commercial purposes. The whole thing has been a confidence-boosting experience for us."

By H. Lee Murphy
Crain Communications Inc.

For a copy of this complete article, contact the TAAC office nearest you.

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Trade Adjustment Assistance For Firms
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce
Economic Development Administration
Washington, DC 20230

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