Small Business Exporter of the Year

Information about eligibility and how to submit a nomination package for the Small Business Exporter of the Year Award.


SBA’s Small Business Exporter of the Year recognizes individuals for their success and dedication to exporting products or services. Previous winners include EarthQuaker Devices, SeaDek, Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Sawyer Manufacturing Company, and Baby Elephant Ears.

Award eligibility

Who is eligible to be nominated for this award?

Nominees for this award must meet both of the following eligibility requirements:

  1.  Any legal resident of the United States or its territories who owns and operates or who bears principal responsibility for operating a small business for a minimum of three years prior to being nominated may be nominated. Partners who jointly own and operate a small business may be nominated as a “team,” so long as the number of individuals in the team nomination does not exceed four (4); and
  2. Individuals who have received one type of SBA assistance such as, but not limited to an SBA loan, SCORE counseling, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) assistance, Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC) assistance, Women’s Business Center (WBC) assistance, government contracting assistance, disaster assistance, Emerging Leaders Initiative, State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant, or Boots to Business Training.

Who is NOT eligible to be nominated for this award?

  1. Individuals who have received the Small Business Exporter Award at the Regional level within the past three years;
  2. Elected officials;
  3. Individuals or teams who own or operate a business defined as “other than small” (i.e. large businesses) for its primary industry under the applicable SBA size standards; or
  4. Individuals or firms who are currently suspended or debarred by the Federal government

Who may submit nominations?

  1. Individuals or organizations dedicated to the support of the small business community in the United States, such as trade and professional associations and business organizations, may submit nominations for the Small Business Exporter of the Year award.
  2. Individuals may self-nominate.

How to apply

What information must the nomination package contain?

Nominations must contain the information below. Incomplete nomination packages will not be considered.

  1. A completed SBA Form 3300, Award Nominee Background form. For “team” nominations, a background form is required for each team member; 
  2. A completed Authorization, Grant & Release of Materials form. For “team” nominations, a release form is required for each team member. 
  3. A completed SBA Form 3302, Small Business Exporter of the Year nomination form.
  4. An original 8 in. x 10 in. or 5 in. x 7 in. photo of the nominee or a digital photo – at least 300 dpi is required; photocopies are not acceptable. For “team” nominations, a photo of each nominee or group photo is acceptable; and 
  5. Additional supporting documentation deemed significant by the nominator, including news clips, letters of recommendation, nomination letter (if not self-nominated), and other evidence of the appropriateness of the nomination. Supporting documentation may not exceed 10 pages. Videos will not be considered. 

Where are the nominations to be sent?

All nominations for Small Business Exporter of the Year must be submitted electronically via the upload link for the District Office where the nominee is located. Nominations should be scanned and submitted as one single file. Photo should be submitted as a separate attachment. 

When is the deadline for nominations?

Nominations must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. ET, December 7, 2023.

How is the winner selected?

What are the evaluation/selection criteria?

In evaluating the nomination packages for the Exporter of the Year award, the judges will use the following criteria:

  1. Increased sales, profit, growth, employment (or combination thereof) attributable to international sales or demonstration of resiliency during the international pandemic relative to others in your industry or area of expertise. Clearly articulate what selling abroad has meant or currently means to the company.
  2. Effective or innovative solutions to export-related challenges (including, but not limited to): trade financing, payment, market-entry/logistics, supply chain, cultural or language barriers, trade barrier etc.
  3. Effective use of Federal and/or State government trade promotion or financing programs (please describe how you learned about the program or service, and how it benefited your company).
  4. Contributions in one or more of the following areas: proactive steps to assist other U.S. small businesses and/or their community (e.g. mentoring/training/export promotion); use of bilateral or multilateral agreements in international trade; leveraging intellectual property to expand sales; and/or positive impacts of any kind resulting from selling abroad, from increases in U.S. employment, or from economic impact.

What are the selection procedures?

SBA will make Small Business Exporter of the Year awards to eligible small businesses at the District, Regional, and National levels.

  1. District offices will select one winner to compete at the regional level.
  2. The Regional offices will select one winner to compete at the national level.
  3. The National Small Business Exporter of the Year will be selected by the Associate Administrator for International Trade based on, but not restricted to, the recommendations of a panel of judges of federal employees.

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Last updated September 7, 2023