Hawaii State Trade and Export Promotion (HiSTEP) Program

The Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) has again applied for a grant from the State Trade and Export Promotion (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 comprehensive export assistance, readiness, counseling and training that leads into a menu of targeted activities designed to generate new export sales for participating small businesses from key industry sectors.

The previous grant we received, $703,505, allowed for a total HiSTEP budget of $1,012,333, as the state and its partners provided the additional $308,828  in cash and in-kind services. With this grant, we assisted Hawaii businesses to achieve $21 million in new exports; creating a total economic impact of $32.25 million; generating $13.8 million in state taxes; and creating 220.5 jobs.


Companies desiring to participate in any of the STEP activities must:

  1. Meet the federal requirements of an ‘eligible small business concern’ (meet size standards, one year in business, profitable, understand costs associated w/exporting, have export plan)
  2. Certify that the company is not barred from receiving federal funds
  3. Be registered in good standing with the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Business Registration Division
  4. Have a current general excise tax license with the State Department of Taxation


HiSTEP and its 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 and the Small Business Development Centers.
  • Trade missions to Japan, China and Korea
  • Planning Hawaii Pavilions at several upcoming tradeshow events:
    • at the 2016 Tokyo International Gift Fair
    • at the 2016 Las Vegas Souvenir and Resort Gift Show
    • at the 2016 Surf Expo
    • at the 2016 FOODEX in Tokyo
    • at the 2016 International Food Ingredients and Additives Show in Tokyo
    • at the 2016 Gulfood Show in Dubai