The Washington State Department of Commerce’s State Export Voucher Program (STEP), funded in part by the US Small Business Administration, seeks to support eligible small businesses and grow their export. STEP can reimburse part of your international sales activities up to $5,000 ($6,000 for COVID-19 exceptions).
Are you Eligible?
Qualifying companies must:
- Be registered to do business in Washington State
- Have a Federal Identification Number tied to a Washington address
- Be in good standing with the Washington State Department of Revenue
- Be a small business concern (SBC) as defined by SBA criteria, and meet other program criteria, such as being in business for at least one year and ability to demonstrate export readiness
- Be exporting goods or services that have US origin or at least 51% US content. (ex-factory price of a good minus the aggregate value contributed by non-U.S. sources)
- Submit an application at least one month before the planned export activity
Qualifying Export Expenses
The following types of programs and expenses are eligible for an Export Voucher:
- Website translation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or localization (capped at $6,000): Optimize your website to attract target international clients and get ready for future international trade shows!
- Compliance testing of an existing product for entry into an export market (capped at $6,000): i.e. CE marking, CAAC,
- Cost associated with international Intellectual Property protection: US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) transmittal fee up to $120 — USPTO PCT non-electronic filing fee up to $200 — USPTO PCT search fee up to $1,040 — Hague International Design Application transmittal fee up to $60 — Trademark Madrid Protocol fees up to $250
- Export research tool subscription (capped at $2,000): Used to assist with market research.
- Design of marketing media (capped at $6,000, prior SBA approval needed), i.e. flyers, brochures, virtual factory tour. Does not include the cost of printing.
- Shipping sample products to international buyers (capped at $4,000): i.e. connecting with international buyers via email/phone/video call and sending samples in lieu of a face to face meeting.
U.S. Commercial Service programs
Initial Market Check – Determine the market potential of your product or service in a targeted market.
Customized Market Research – Get customized market research.
Rural America’s Intelligence Service for Exporters (RAISE) – Marketing intel for rural companies.
For a complete list of services, click here.
Trade reports and virtual B2B meetings by Commerce’s European Representative: Trade reports are an effective way to help you develop and grow your business in the UK and Europe in lieu of travelling to the market.
See the Export Voucher Program Guidelines for complete details.
Links and Resources
More than 350 companies have used export vouchers to offset their exporting expenses. From mobile app developers and wakeboard manufacturers to remanufactured engine specialists and turnkey metalworkers, Washington State small businesses brought home more than $589 million in new export sales with assistance from this popular program, State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), funded in part through a Grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.