Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program (HiSTEP)
The world is open for business… your business! Today it’s easier than ever for companies, regardless of size, to sell goods and services across the globe. Hawaii is an internationally recognized brand that helps make its products and services attractive to buyers throughout the world.
Funded in part through a Grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Hawaii’s State Trade Expansion Program, known as HiSTEP, is a comprehensive program designed to assist Hawaii small businesses with their export development. The program is administered by DBEDT and partner organizations in Hawaii.
SBA started STEP in FY 2011 as a three-year pilot program with a goal to increase the number of small businesses that want to export as well as the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export. SBA awards matching-funds STEP grants to states on a competitive basis.
- September 25, 2018: SBA Announces $450,000 Award to DBEDT for HiSTEP for 2019
- September 26, 2018 Hawaii News Now: State Program Awarded Help Local Businesses Export Goods
- October 25, 2018: DBEDT Launches 2019 HiSTEP Export Promotion Program
- The request for proposal (RFP) for HiSTEP-CA is now closed for 2019.
Success metrics for Hawaii-based companies using HiSTEP include, but are not limited to:
- Expanded exports
- Boosted revenue
- Active in more global markets
- Penetration of new markets
Companies must meet the following requirements:
- Meet the federal requirements of an ‘Eligible Small Business Concern’ (organized or incorporated and operating in the U.S., meet SBA small business size standards, one year in business, has access to sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade)
- Must be an export-ready U.S. company seeking to export goods or services of U.S. origin or that has at least 51% U.S. content
- Priority for selection to participate in the Hawaii Pavilion will be given to companies whose Hawaii-made product meets the “Made in Hawaii” designation as defined under Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 468-119, stipulating that the product will have at least 51% of the wholesale value added by manufacture, assembly, fabrication, or production within the State. For service providers, the eligibility requirement is that the company be registered to do business in the State of Hawaii and the service, although for a foreign market, is substantially performed in Hawaii.
- Certify that your company is not barred from receiving federal funds
- Be registered in good standing with the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Business Registration Division at vendors.ehawaii.gov
- Have a current general excise tax license with the State Department of Taxation
- For companies that may be unsure if they are export ready, please take the Export Questionnaire on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s website at: http://export.gov/begin/assessment.asp Upon completion, the questionnaire will give you an Export Readiness Assessment score based upon your responses.
- Determine if your company meets the Eligibility Requirements
- Complete the online HiSTEP Registration
- Download and complete the SBA Self Representation Form and SBA Form 1624, then email both forms to Jamie.K.Lum@hawaii.gov
- Review the Exporting Resources page where we gathered videos of past HiSTEP seminars and other useful information on exporting
The Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program (HiSTEP) has three integrated components:
- HiSTEP – Export Readiness Program (HiSTEP-ERP)
- HiSTEP – Hawaii Pavilions (HiSTEP-HP)
- HiSTEP – Company Assistance (HiSTEP-CA)
1. HiSTEP – Export Readiness Program (HiSTEP-ERP)
Training and business advising program to prepare Hawaii companies to begin or expand their export market development.
The Export Readiness Training is a foundation program that is open to all types of businesses considering exporting. It will cover general background as well as country and issue specific topics. HiSTEP-ERP also includes one-on-one business and export advising in cooperation with DBEDT’s partner organizations. At the conclusion of the program, companies will have a go-to-market strategy and export plan.
The sessions are expected to cover subjects ranging from scaling up operations, to logistics, to managing cultural differences.
2019 HiSTEP Training Seminars
The HISTEP – ERP seminars have concluded for 2019. Please check back later this Fall with this page and the Events page.
2. HiSTEP – Hawaii Pavilions (HiSTEP-HP)
DBEDT and partners such as the Hawaii Department of Agriculture organize groups of Hawaii companies to participate in major trade shows in a Hawaii pavilion. For Hawaii companies seeking to participate in food-focused trade shows, such as FoodEx Japan, please contact Yukashi Smith at the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture, Yukashi.M.Smith@hawaii.gov. Also, please visit the HDOA website to find a list of food-focused trade shows.
Hawaii Pavilions organized by DBEDT are planned for the following Trade Shows for 2019:
- DEMA, November 14-17, 2018, Las Vegas, NV
- Surf Expo, January 10-12, 2019, Orlando, FL
- BIO International Convention, June 3-6, 2019, Philadelphia, PA
- Outdoor Retailer, June 18-20, 2019, Denver, CO
- Hankyu Hawaii Fair, July 10-16, 2019, Osaka, Japan
- Tokyo International Gift Show (TIGS), September 3-6, 2019, Tokyo, Japan
Space is limited and will be on a first come first serve basis. To sign up complete the 2019 HiSTEP Registration. Note: this selection is for information purposes only. This does not obligate you to a booth, nor does it guarantee space at a Hawaii Pavilion. A program manager will be in contact with the details. DBEDT/BDSD reserves the right to final decision.
3. HiSTEP – Company Assistance (HiSTEP-CA)
The request for proposal (RFP) for HiSTEP-CA is now closed for 2019.
HiSTEP-CA assists individual Hawaii companies with export market development costs. Application proposals may request a minimum of $3,000 and a maximum of $7,500. Award funds will be limited to the following uses:
- Airfare (consistent with Fly America guidelines) to approved trade show(s) or multiple buyer meetings (minimum 6 meetings);
- Trade show booth rental or trade mission participation fee;
- Trade show booth build-out expenses ($3,000 maximum);
- Shipping of products to the trade show and return;
- Gold Key Service (a program offered by U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service that matches pre-qualified foreign buyers with American companies in markets around the world. More information at: http://2016.export.gov/salesandmarketing/eg_main_018195.asp), or other federal export development programs;
- Localization services for collateral materials and website ($3,000 maximum);
- Fees for shipping sample products ($2,000 maximum);
- Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market ($3,000 maximum);
- Export Research Tool Subscription used to assist company with market research ($1,000 maximum).
To be eligible for HiSTEP-CA the Hawaii company must meet the SBA’s definition of an “eligible small business concern” including:
- Company has been in business for not less than one (1) year.
- Company has access to sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and custom brokers. At a minimum, the company must have annual revenue of more than $200,000 in the previous year.
- Company certifies that it is not barred from receiving federal funds.
- Company produces goods or services of U.S. origin or have at least 51% U.S. content.
Additional eligibility requirements:
- Company has a business and export plan.
- Company is listed as compliant in Hawaii Compliance Express (HCE).
- For producers/manufacturers, priority will be given to companies whose Hawaii-made product meets the “Made in Hawaii” designation as defined under Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 468-119, stipulating that the product will have at least 51% of the wholesale value added by manufacture, assembly, fabrication, or production within the State. For service providers, the eligibility requirement is that the company be registered to do business in the State of Hawaii and the service, although for a foreign market, is substantially performed in Hawaii.
DBEDT HiSTEP Partners