Oregon manufacturers should be aware of a new grant available through Business Oregon’s Export Promotion Program. If you are currently exporting products internationally, or if you are interested in doing so, don’t miss this opportunity.

The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) matching grant reimburses 75% of eligible expenses up to $10,000.

Funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration, money is available to assist Oregon small businesses seeking to begin or grow international sales. Eligible Businesses have:

  • Less than 500 employees
  • 75% of employees based in Oregon
  • Significant value added in Oregon
  • Up to three grants per year

The Oregon Export Promotion Grant covers many expenses, including:

  • International trade show/ mission fees, airfare, lodging and meals (virtual or in person; up to $10,000)
  • US-based international trade show participation
  • Services of the U.S. Commercial Service such as Market Research, Business Matching, Single Company Promotions, Int’l Partner Searches, etc. 
  • Compliance testing or product certification such CE Mark, CCC Mark, ISO 9001, ITAR  (up to $6,000)
  • Participation in export training workshops (up to $500) 
  • International shipment of product samples (up to $4,000).
  • Design of Marketing Media during a trade show/mission –trade event advertising, brochures, posters, print media, table banner, billboards, social media campaign, and digital advertising (up to $8,000)
  • International website design, localization, search engine optimization, and translation (up to $10,000).
  • Expenses to set up a website to accept international payment (up to $10,000).
  • International e-commerce platform setup and/or maintenance fees (up to $10,000)
  • Translation of marketing media, including audio/video online market listing fees (up to $10,000).


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that it is accepting applications for its new Community Navigator Pilot Program. This new initiative, established by the American Rescue Plan, will leverage a community navigator approach to reach our nation’s smallest businesses, with a priority focus on those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans. SBA will accept applications through July 12, 2021, and anticipates making award decisions by August 2021. The Biden-Harris Administration has made delivering equitable relief to hard-hit small businesses a top priority and will continue to take steps to ensure equitable distribution of relief.  

“The Community Navigator Pilot Program is a crucial addition to our SBA programs because it helps us to connect with small businesses that have historically been underserved or left behind. These businesses – the smallest of the small in rural and urban America, and those owned by women, people of color, or veterans – have suffered the greatest economic loss from this pandemic,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We’ll be using a hub and spoke model in local regions across the nation to bridge the gap between local entrepreneurs and SBA’s resources and programs. If we’re going to build back better, we need to ensure that all entrepreneurs have the support they need to recover.”

The Community Navigator Notice of Funding Opportunity will be open to applications from nonprofit organizations, state, local, and tribal governments, SBA resource partners, and other organizations.  Selected partners will engage in targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities to help small businesses get the resources and support they need to get back on track as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period. Applicants have until July 12, 2021, to submit their applications at Performance periods are projected to commence in September 2021. Those eligible to apply must meet and demonstrate abilities to support the requirements of this funding opportunity.

For more information on the Community Navigators Initiative, please visit

Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI), Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium (INWAC) and the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NorthwestTAAC) partnered to present a webinar on how companies in the Northwest can successfully overcome international competition. Through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program, companies that have lost business due to competition from imports can access matching funds to improve their business.

Greater Spokane Inc. works with local businesses, community, non-profits, and the surrounding Spokane, WA. region to build a robust regional economy. It’s this partnership that helps create the place where organizations come together to advocate for the regiondrive strategic economic growth, and champion a talented workforce.

For more information on international trade and resources from our partners at GSI., click here.

Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium (INWAC) INWAC is a regional alliance of aerospace manufacturers located along the I-90 aerospace corridor from Central Washington to Central Montana, USA. Working together, INWAC companies provide top quality products and cutting edge solutions for customers.

For more information, to to contact INWAC, click here.

Idaho TechHelp was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s national 2020 Venture Challenge Competition to fund the South Idaho Design-Prototype Center (SIDPC). TechHelp was one of 29 organizations selected for this award from a pool of 417 applicants nationwide. The grant was matched by TechHelp collaborators for an additional $1.5 million to expand a much-needed talent pipeline to industries in Idaho, as well as provide a career on-ramp for student employees who manage the center’s projects and operations alongside engineering professionals and entrepreneurs. 

The funds will jumpstart theSouth Idaho Design-Prototype Center (SIDPC) project, a planned three-year collaboration with Boise State’s College of Engineering and College of Business and Economics, Southwest Idaho industry partners, and the Southwest Idaho Manufacturers’ Alliance. The center will scale up the New Product Development (NPD) Lab at the College of Engineering, which has fueled workforce development, entrepreneurship, and economic growth in Idaho since 2001. 
Read more here
Local manufacturing businesses and jobs have experienced a resurgence in recent years that needs to continue for our region’s livelihood and connection to the global economy.

Before the pandemic, the manufacturing sector employed 11.6 million workers in the United States. During the past three years, approximately 500,000 manufacturing jobs were added to the economy. In 2018 alone, 264,000 manufacturing jobs were added, the most created in any single year in more than two decades. Locally in the Pacific Northwest, there were more than half a million manufacturing jobs. Of those, approximately 43% were employed by small firms.

While manufacturers have not been immune to the hit we’ve seen many sectors take during 2020 due to the pandemic, we’re already seeing the manufacturing sector start to rebound. In fact, 29,000 manufacturing jobs were added in August 2020 alone.   This is both encouraging and necessary for our region as consumers worldwide are increasingly seeking “Made in the USA” products and services. On a macro level during the past couple decades, U.S.-manufactured goods that are exported to other countries have quadrupled. Plus, nearly six in 10 U.S. export dollars come from manufacturers, establishing them as a crucial component to our role in the international marketplace.

In North America specifically, the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) earlier this year has and will continue to drive job creation and strengthen manufacturing in the Pacific Northwest. And since the USMCA establishes a committee on small business issues for the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, it will ensure small manufacturing voices are heard.

As local manufacturers are pivoting and innovating to operate in a new environment – and in some cases, switching production to support critical needs of medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – it takes public and private entities working together for small manufacturing firms to succeed. The federal government is clearing red tape out of the way for small manufacturing firms by reducing regulations.
During the past few years, federal agencies have issued multiple deregulatory actions for every new significant regulatory action, saving businesses billions in regulatory costs.

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, many federal regulations have been temporarily lifted; and, regional advocates from the SBA Office of Advocacy are talking to businesses to explore opportunities to permanently clear some of these regulations if they have been burdensome to small firms.

In the span of a week this past spring, the SBA rolled out one of the largest economic recovery programs the country has ever seen. Financing programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and traditional SBA loan programs have preserved Pacific Northwest jobs and infused approximately $32 billion into Pacific Northwest small businesses in 2020.With federal programs, local government, and industry and business organizations working together – combined with the ingenuity of Pacific Northwest small businesses – the manufacturing industry will prevail and ultimately thrive.  

Jeremy Field is the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Pacific Northwest Region which serves Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. 

When an American worker loses their job due to competition created by international trade, the Trade Adjustment Act provides funding for that worker to be retrained for a new job. A cousin to that program is the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program.

Instead of retraining workers, the federal program retrains companies, from farms to manufacturers, that are facing revenue losses because of trade, usually in the form of competition from low-cost imports. The TAAF provides a dollar for dollar match up to $75,000 for businesses to bring in outside expertise to help them better compete.

“If a company is facing very strong price competition, they generally find themselves in a situation where something has to change. They have to find a new corner of the market. They have to get better at doing something,” said David Holbert, the CEO of the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.

To read the full article, click here

Oregon has lost the most jobs per capita to trade and offshoring, according to the nonprofit Trade Justice Education Fund, according to a new feature article by Jade McDowell of the East Oregonian daily newspaper. Data from the report relied on the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program, a sister-program of the TAA for Firms program.

Read the full article here

In response to the national public health and economic threats caused by
COVID-19, four relief laws were enacted as of June 2020, including the CARES
Act, in March 2020. These laws have appropriated $2.6 trillion across the
government. Six areas—Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); Economic
Stabilization and Assistance to Distressed Sectors; unemployment insurance;
economic impact payments; Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund;
and Coronavirus Relief Fund—account for 86 percent of the appropriations.

You can read the full report here

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