An employee boxes product up for exporting using Washington's STEP grant.Washington State received the second largest round of funding – $750,000 – in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) program. This marks the seventh year Washington has received the funding, which supports export growth among small businesses.

The State Trade Expansion Program is designed to meet three specific goals: increasing the number of small businesses that export, increasing the value of their exports and increasing the number of small business that explore new trade opportunities.

Through its Export Voucher Program, which uses STEP funds, the Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness (OEDC) has helped businesses offset the cost of attending trade shows, including related fees, travel, website translation and optimization and shipment of product samples.

“Commerce’s focus on small business expansion continues to pay dividends and create opportunities to bring Washington products to global markets,” said state Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.  “We are delighted to receive one of the largest STEP awards for the seventh consecutive year. It is a testament to our past successes and to the great potential for future economic growth.”

Since the beginning of the program seven years ago, approximately $138 million in grants have been awarded to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.

Read more about the award.