The Elite Eight: SBA’s 2023 Regional Exporter of the Year Awards

Each year, as part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and community members from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they work to grow small businesses, create 21st-century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. In recognizing the changing face of America, the SBA’s National Small Business Week awards honor individuals and businesses that reflect our Nation’s rich diversity. 

As the head of the SBA’s Office of International Trade, I have the privilege of helping small businesses enter the international marketplace and selecting the National Exporter of the Year. This year, North Carolina-based Sciencix was named the 2023 National Exporter of the Year. In addition, we are pleased to take the time to recognize winners at the regional level from across the country.  

  • New England Region: Element 119. A Thomaston, Connecticut- based developer of ceramic composite coatings for marine, automotive, and aerospace industries that used State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant funds.    
  • Mid-Atlantic Region: Kreinik Manufacturing Co. A Parkersburg, West Virginia-based manufacturer of metallic braids, silk, and textile embellishments that used STEP grant funds.  
  • Great Lakes Region: Hartzell Hardwoods. A Piqua, Ohio-based producer of walnut lumber and thick stock oak lumber that used STEP grant funds. 
  • South-Central Region: Hartmann’s Inc. An Abilene, Texas-based company that specializes in prototype development, long production runs, and testing which received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.  
  • Great Plains Region: Ritchie Industries Inc. A Conrad, Iowa-based producer of livestock watering tanks that used STEP grant funds.  
  • Rocky Mountain Region: Penta Machine Company. A Belgrade, Montana-based manufacturer and designer of 5-axis CNC mills that used STEP grant funds.   
  • Pacific Region: TEI Spa Beauty. A Las Vegas, Nevada-based company that sells hand-held beauty devices and skin care products that used STEP grant funds.   
  • Pacific Northwest Region: Tool Gauge. A Tacoma, Washington-based manufacturer of injection-molded aircraft interior and structural components that used STEP grant funds. 

This year’s applicant pool included a truly diverse set of founders, industries, and exporting expertise. It is my pleasure to lead an office that played even a small role in helping these winners and many other entrepreneurs pursue the American Dream. 

Want to learn how you can go global too? Contact a local representative from the Office of International Trade now:

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