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 of $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 depends 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."