New DBEDT Program Offers Funds to Exporters

Posted on Dec 3, 2015 in Exporting, HiSTEP, News, SBA, Small Business

December 2, 2015

Honolulu – Supported by funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) announced its new Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program Assistance Program (HiSTEP-AP), which will provide direct awards to individual companies to participate in export marketing activities. Application proposals can request a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $6,000. HiSTEP-AP applicants must provide a minimum of 25% cash matching funds. In-kind and personnel are not allowed as matching funds.

Award funds will be limited to the following uses:

  1. Trade Show/Trade Mission costs (eligible costs include space rental and other exhibit-related expenses; airfare; accommodations for period of show/mission only; shipping of products for show);
  2. Travel for multiple buyer meetings (minimum 6 meetings);
  3. 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), or other federal export development programs;
  4. Localization services for collateral materials and website ($3,000 maximum).
  5. Fees for shipping sample products ($2,000 maximum).
  6. Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market ($2,000 maximum).


For producers/manufacturers, priority will be given to companies whose Hawaii-made product 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.

The RFP Solicitation with the title Hawaii State Trade and Export Assistance Program (HiSTEP-AP) can be downloaded at: Proposals can be submitted beginning January 4, 2016.

HiSTEP-AP is one component of the larger HiSTEP program designed to assist Hawaii small businesses with export market development and expansion through export readiness programs and industry-based marketing (trade shows and missions). Success metrics for the HiSTEP program include, but are not limited to:

  1. Expanded exports and revenue from exports of Hawaii produced goods and services
  2. A larger overall number and a larger percentage of Hawaii-based companies that are active in global markets
  3. Penetration of new markets for Hawaii produced goods and services


For more information, please contact Mark Ritchie at