DBEDT Launches 2018 HiSTEP Program for Small Businesses

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

The State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) has announced the launch of a program for 2018 designed to help local small businesses increase their exports.

The 2018 Hawai‘i State Trade Expansion Program (HiSTEP) is a comprehensive initiative administered by DBEDT and partner organizations in Hawai‘i with funding in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

DBEDT will hold a series of seminars throughout the state to explain the services offered through the program, and how companies can register. Previous participants in the HiSTEP program will be in attendance to share their experiences.

A series of seminars will be held on all main islands to explain the various services being offered and how companies can register. Company representatives that have previously participated in HiSTEP will be in attendance to share their experiences.


Seminars scheduled on Hawai‘i Island are as follows:

Hale Lako, NELHA (OTEC) Campus
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Conference Room, Hawai‘i Innovation Center at Hilo
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.


The seminars are free to attend. Attendees must pre-register for each seminar using the links listed above.

The HiSTEP program consists of three integrated components:

  1. HiSTEP – Export Readiness Program (HiSTEP-ERP): A series of training programs and one-on-one consulting sessions that prepare Hawai‘i companies to begin or expand their export market development. Trainings will cover subjects ranging from scaling up operations to logistics, as well as country-specific topics. HiSTEP-ERP also includes one-on-one business and export advising provided by partner organizations.
  2. HiSTEP – Company Assistance (HiSTEP-CA): Provides direct financial assistance for export market development costs. Application proposals may request a minimum of $3,000 and a maximum of $7,500. The program RFP will be posted on the State Procurement Office website the week of Nov.13, 2017, and may be viewed at
  3. HiSTEP – Hawai‘i Pavilions (HiSTEP-HP): DBEDT organizes groups of Hawai‘i companies to participate in major trade shows, subsidizing booth space in a Hawai‘i Pavilion to introduce potential buyers and distributors. See the current schedule of shows.

All HiSTEP program participants must complete the online application at After submitting an application, participants will receive an initial consultation from HiSTEP partner Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to assess their business and export plans. As needed, other HiSTEP partners will provide additional business and export mentoring.


DBEDT HiSTEP Partners are:
• U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Hawai‘i District office
• Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
• Hawai‘i Pacific Export Council (HPEC)
• Patsy Mink Center for Business and Leadership (MCBL)
• Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 9
• U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center
• Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture

“We are pleased to work again with DBEDT and the many Hawai‘i companies they support through HiSTEP. DBEDT has demonstrated consistent growth in the number of companies assisted, as well as in increasing export sales,” said Jane A. Sawyer, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Hawai‘i District Office.

“We are grateful for the continued support from the Small Business Administration,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “Through HiSTEP and our partner organizations, we have helped Hawai‘i exporters to further grow their sales in overseas markets to nearly $20 million.”

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments