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SBA Announces Oregon Department of Commerce Recipient of 2019 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Award

SBA Awards $562,500 to Oregon, $18 Million Nationally to Expand Small Business Exporting
Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore.  – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that $18 million in funding has been awarded to 47 state international trade agencies through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), to support export growth among U.S. small businesses.

The Oregon Department of Commerce was awarded $562,500, the same amount as last year for continued growth.

“Ninety-six percent of a small business’ potential customers live outside the U.S. and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries,” SBA Regional Administrator Jeremy Field said. “Plus, research shows small businesses that export report higher sales, employ more people, pay higher wages, and are, on average, more productive than firms that do not export. With this data in mind, SBA STEP empowers small businesses to successfully take their business global.”

STEP is designed to meet three distinctive goals: to increase the number of small businesses that export, to increase the value of exports for small businesses, and to increase the number of small businesses that explore significant new trade opportunities.  Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s small business strategy.

“Most export deals start with a handshake and the STEP Award funds help make that first connection possible for Oregon’s small businesses entering the global marketplace,” said SBA Portland District Director Martin Golden.  “Of the 5,670 companies exporting goods from Oregon in 2016, 5,032, or 88.7 percent, were small firms generating 21.4 percent of Oregon’s $20.9 billion in total exports.”

“The SBA STEP grant funds that comes out through the Business Oregon Program has really been an important part of us being able to get our message out into the world,” said High Impact Technology co-founder and 2018 SBA Northwest Region Exporter of the Year Russell Monk.  “These funds have allowed us to take our message to the trade shows and do the marketing it takes for everybody to win.”

Since the beginning of the STEP program eight years ago, approximately $156 million in grants have been awarded to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world. 

The 2019 STEP awards will allow states to assist small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities that are in line with the objectives of the program. These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

STEP awards are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade.

For more information about small business exporting resources, visit


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality.  As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit The Portland District Office serves Oregon and southwest Washington with its office located in Portland.