SBA Awards $450,000 to Assist Hawai‘i Exporters
The Hawai‘i State Trade Export Program (HiSTEP) will receive $450,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to continue providing training, grants and trade shows for companies looking to start exporting or increase their exports.
“With the help of this program, we’ve seen our export of Hawai‘i-made products increase substantially overseas,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “The Hawai‘i brand continues to be iconic. We have significantly increased Hawai‘i-made products, especially in Japan where we have participated in several high-profile events.”
An example of the effectiveness of the HiSTEP program, 80 companies just completed participating in the 2018 Tokyo International Gift Show (TIGS). This year marked the seventh consecutive year that DBEDT organized a Hawai‘i Pavilion at TIGS, which was held Sept. 4 through 7, 2018, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center.
This year, DBEDT recruited 80 Hawai‘i companies to fill 38 booths and a café section, which made up the Hawai‘i Pavilion. In addition, show organizers awarded DBEDT’s Hawai‘i Pavilion with the Best in Show award.
“The value of the Hawai‘i brand is priceless in the global economy, and expansion of the state’s trade sector will diversify and grow our local economy,” explained Salaveria. “Through events such as TIGS, Hawai‘i’s products are showcased around the world and have received international recognition for its quality and uniqueness.”
Sen. Brian Taniguchi joined DBEDT at TIGS and shared his impressions: “It was exciting to meet all the vendors and see all the Hawaii-made products. This is what we need to do in Hawaii. The Hawaii Pavilion at the Tokyo International Gift Show was huge and very impressive.”
“We are excited to see the Hawaii Pavilion grow each year in size and number of local companies exhibiting,” said Dennis Ling, administrator of DBEDT’s Business Development and Support Division. “The Hawaii brand is becoming more established and recognized for quality and authenticity, which is reflected in the dramatic increase in our sales in the Japan market.”
In part, as a result of dollar amount of exports achieved at TIGS, this year’s exhibitors are expected top $10 million in export sales.
TIGS is the largest international trade show in Japan, drawing 200,000 buyers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to meet exhibitors at more than 4,500 booths spread out over the exhibition area.