The Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) has received a $485,719 grant from the (STEP) program of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to increase the number of local small businesses that want to export as well as the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export.
Hawaii’s State Trade and Export Promotion Program, known as “HiSTEP,” is built on a multifaceted approach that begins with ensuring that participating small businesses are prepared for exporting by providing them with a menu of targeted activities designed to generate new export sales for participating small businesses from key industry sectors. The grant from the SBA will cover 65 to 75 percent of DBEDT’s program costs. The total budget for HiSTEP is $859,868. The state and its partners will provide the additional $374,149 in cash and in-kind services.
“HiSTEP will provide specialized resources designed specifically to enable eligible small Hawaii businesses to grow their export sales and enter new international markets,” said DBEDT Director Richard Lim. “The primary goal of the program is to expand and elevate export-oriented programs throughout Hawaii. We will thereby grow our small businesses’ productive, innovative and competitive edge in the world while helping to build a sustainable economy here at home.”
“SBA is partnering with the State of Hawaii to build the exporting capacity of more small businesses here in the State. Tapping into the growing consumers in global markets translates into increased revenues, jobs and new opportunities locally,” said Jane Sawyer, SBA District Director. “HiSTEP’s multi-faceted approach will offer expanded resources, referrals and results to help many companies at different stages of international trade — from thinking about entry to a new market, to research and contacts to completing transactions.”
HiSTEP and its public and private partners have planned the following activities:
• Export readiness sessions to prepare new and existing exporters to participate in the HiSTEP Program activities. Forums and workshops will be conducted by the U.S. Export Assistance Center and the Hawaii Pacific Export Council.
• Development of a Hawaii Pavilion at the 2012 Bio International Convention in partnership with the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii and the county economic development boards.
• Buying mission from China for made-in-Hawaii products.
• Establishment of a “Hawaii House” showroom of Hawaii products in Shanghai.
• The current high-tech mission to Hong Kong, Shenzen, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore in partnership with HiBEAM.
Hawaii is one of forty-seven states that received a STEP grant, in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.
DBEDT’s partners in the HiSTEP program include the State of Hawaii Offices in Beijing and Taiwan, Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii, High Technology Development Corporation, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, U.S. Export Assistance Center, Hawaii Pacific Export Council, Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers, Hawaii Business and Entrepreneur Acceleration Mentors (HiBEAM), Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii and the county Economic Development Boards.