The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded the Washington State Department of Commerce a ninth year of funding to help state small businesses grow through exporting. The $1.35 million grant, part of the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), is the largest awarded from a total $19 million to 48 states.
Commerce will use the funds to continue a number of 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 900 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. They have achieved over $750 million in sales, creating an estimated return on investment of nearly 100:1.
“One in three jobs in Washington depend on international trade, and this funding is essential for us to continue helping small businesses grow through exporting and support a broad-based economic recovery in communities throughout the state,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “The STEP 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.”
“IDEA International has been involved in the Washington State Department of Commerce export voucher program since 2013. This program has been a major contribution to enabling IDEA to reach new customers on a global level, including in Europe and the Far East. Not only did it provide a platform to showcase our services and areas of expertise, but Commerce staff played a key role in supporting contact between Washington companies and potential customers at such key events as the Big Site, Tokyo, Dubai Air Show and Aircraft Interiors Expo, Hamburg. As a result, IDEA can attribute 40% of its annual business to offshore customers,” said Julian Sharpe, President and CEO, IDEA International Inc..
“The STEP Grant voucher program has allowed Silicon Forest Electronics to play on the world stage of aviation. The grant created an affordable opportunity for a small company to participate in the Farnborough and Paris International Air Shows. Neither would have been feasible without the STEP Grant support. As a result, we created an international marketing and sales presence. Our international business has increased from zero to five percent of our total revenues with many more prospects in the wings,” said Frank Nichols, CEO, Silicon Forest Electronics.
For information about STEP export vouchers or other Commerce programs that help Washington businesses grow, expand and locate in Washington state, please visit ChooseWashington.com.