Washington State Receives $747K SBA Grant to Boost Small Business Exports

State is a top performer with $220 million in sales attributed to State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program since inception

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded the Washington State Department of Commerce a fourth year of funding to help state small businesses grow through exporting. The $747,300 grant, part of the SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program, is one of the top three state awards from a total $17.4 million nationwide

Commerce will use the funds to continue a number of successful export assistance programs for small businesses including export vouchers, trade show support, and export finance training.

Seven Washington companies are using STEP grant vouchers to help offset their costs to take part in Gov. Inslee’s trade mission to Korea and Japan leaving this Friday.

More than 450 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 $220 million in sales, making Washington one of the leading states participating in the federal program.

“Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth. Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, SBA’s STEP program ensures that America’s small businesses can succeed in the 21st Century global economy,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. ”

“From the apple orchard to the shipping dock, trade is essential to Washington and our country’s economy. During its first two years, the STEP program supported 2,230 jobs in the State of Washington. I look forward to seeing this successful program continue to help America’s small businesses seize the opportunity to increase exports to growing markets overseas,” said Senator Cantwell, who helped move the STEP program funding through Congress.

“When we help our small businesses sell their goods overseas, we create jobs here at home. The STEP program does just that for hundreds of businesses in Washington state, including manufacturers in my district that have used STEP grants to make new sales internationally. I am pleased this new investment will allow small businesses to continue to take advantage of STEP to get their products into the hands of consumers worldwide and grow our economy here in the Pacific Northwest,” U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen said.

"This is great news for the Puget Sound region," said U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer. "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create goods made in Washington that are in demand all over the world. The STEP program helps them tap into markets they haven't reached before and in the process supports their growth and creates jobs here at home." 

“With one in three jobs in our state related to international trade, and an estimated 80 percent of global economic activity expected to come from outside the U.S. over the next five years, assistance such as STEP and the services of our U.S. Export-Import Bank help Washington small businesses seize opportunities to grow through exporting,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

Participation and results from STEP activities are on target to generate a potential return on investment of more than $196 for every $1 of STEP funds, Bonlender said.

”The Department of Commerce offers an incredible service to the startup tech community and there’s no doubt that their efforts have not only helped drive revenue for our business, but have opened the door to new business that would have otherwise not been there at all,” Red Russak, business development, Apptentive. Apptentive used a STEP voucher to support their participation in Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

For information about STEP in Washington State or other Commerce programs that help Washington businesses grow, expand and locate, please visit ChooseWashington.com

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