Washington State received the lion’s share of funds intended to help small businesses grow through exporting. The state was awarded $2 million of State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) funds by the Small Business Administration. This is the 10th year Washington has received STEP funding.
Commerce will use the funds to continue a number of successful export assistance programs for small businesses including export vouchers, support for industry-focused virtual and in-person trade shows, trade missions, inbound buyer events and export training. Businesses can also use the funding to increase their online presence through website development for international audiences and e-commerce. See a complete list of eligible expenses here.
More than 1,032 unique small businesses around the state have benefited from STEP-funded support since the program’s inception through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Combined, these companies have achieved nearly $760 million in sales, creating an estimated return on investment of nearly 100:1.
Washington’s program is consistently a model of success among all states. This year’s funding is once again the maximum amount awarded by SBA – one of only two $2 million state grants.
With the increase in funding, Commerce will be supporting over 30 trade shows and missions this next year focusing on sectors such as medical devices, life science, aerospace, clean tech, maritime, defense, food tech, Internet of Things (IoT), electronics, composites, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and many more. In addition to Commerce-led trade shows and missions, companies can take advantage of Commerce’s newly-expanded global consultant network in key markets and the export voucher program to offset the cost of conducting business internationally.
“Exporting remains a significant opportunity for small businesses all over Washington state that are looking to grow by tapping new consumers and markets worldwide,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “This STEP funding allows us to continue supporting companies that may otherwise not have the resources to develop relationships and navigate the complexities of selling their goods and services overseas, especially in today’s challenging trade environment.”