Virtual Conversation | 2021 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 15, 2021 Register

Washington receives $2 million SBA grant to boost small business exports

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded the Washington State Department of Commerce a tenth year of funding to help small businesses grow through exporting. The $2 million grant is part of the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

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. They have achieved nearly $760 million in sales, creating an estimated return on investment of nearly 100:1.

Washington state’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, 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 the 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.”

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