The Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded the Department of Commerce an eighth year of funding to help state small businesses grow through exporting. The $900,000 grant, part of the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), is the highest and maximum amount awarded from a total $18 million to 41 states.
Commerce will use the funds to continue its highly successful export assistance programs for small businesses, including export vouchers, support for industry-focused trade shows and trade missions, inbound buyer events and export training.
More than 838 unique small businesses around the state have benefited from about $5.7 million in STEP-funded support since the program’s inception through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. They have achieved more than $700 million in sales, creating an estimated return on investment of nearly 100:1. Of these small businesses, 177 are located in 25 rural Washington counties – more than 20% of all participating companies.
One in three jobs in Washington depend on international trade, and this funding is essential for us to continue helping small businesses all over the state grow and create jobs that strengthen communities through exporting,” said Commerce Director Dr. Lisa Brown. “The program provides support to companies who might 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.”
Robert Lind, Director of Engineering, TLG Aerospace talked about benefits for his company from using a STEP voucher to reduce the cost of attending the 2019 Paris Air Show: “We made contact with well over 40 representatives and decision-makers, each representing business opportunities…fully 10-12 are of significant size. Participating with the Washington state delegation was cost-effective, and the structure and logistics support made it easy for us to focus on meeting and listening to our prospective clients and partners.”
For information about STEP export vouchers visit the Department of Commerce website.