Commerce receives $1 million SBA grant to boost small business exports

More than $600 million in sales attributed to Washington’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) since inception

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce again tops the list of states awarded funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help state small businesses grow through exporting. Washington’s $1 million State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant is the largest awarded from a total $20 million to 49 states in this 11th year of the program.

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 1,516 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 $600 million in sales, creating an estimated return on investment of nearly 52:1.

“Helping small businesses access international markets and partnerships is a proven growth strategy and outstanding return on investment,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “Our 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. We are delighted that once again, the SBA recognized Commerce’s successful formula with the nation’s largest STEP funding award.”

“[The STEP] grant allowed us to send a team member overseas to network with existing customers and generate new leads. New clients for our business mean we can secure jobs for current employees with the hope of expanding operations and hiring new employees and creating jobs in this community is invaluable to us. We are very grateful for the opportunity” said Chief Financial Officer, Chelsea Hanjy of Hanjy Trading.

With the new round of funding, Commerce will be supporting over a dozen trade shows and missions between now and September 2024 focusing on sectors such as medical devices, life science, aerospace, defense, foodtech, Internet of Things (IoT), electronics, composites, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and more. In addition to Commerce-led trade shows and overseas mission delegations, companies can take advantage of the Commerce’s global consultants situated in key global markets to provide market access support and the export voucher program to offset the cost of conducting business internationally.

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

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