By Hope Belli Tinney, Washington SBDC
PULLMAN, Wash. – Export trade isn’t just for big corporations. Sometimes it can be a perfect fit for a small business as well.
Katerina Korish, an international trade specialist with the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), said people often think export trade only applies to multi-million dollar businesses that are selling huge volumes. But, she said, export trade doesn’t mean you’re marketing your product to the whole world. Rather, it means finding that segment of the world that really wants/appreciates your product and then selling it to them.
Washington State University is a partner in the Washington SBDC.
One-on-one, hands-on help
To help small and medium businesses explore their export potential, the Export Readiness Centers that are part of the Washington SBDC network are presenting a half-day seminar on Sept. 20 in Moses Lake. The program is for existing businesses that want to expand their business or increase sales, and topics will include the basics of international market selection and entry.
Participants will have the opportunity to meet one-to-one with an international trade specialist during this hands-on seminar designed to deliver long-term value.
International trade specialists with the Washington SBDC work with a variety of clients, from online entrepreneurs with editing skills to sell, to boutique chocolatiers looking for a specialty niche, to small manufacturing companies looking to expand their markets.
A case in point
Spenser, an automated windshield washer fluid dispenser system located at more than a dozen gas stations across the Pacific Northwest, is a case in point.
Designed and built by Whirlwind Concepts in Spokane, Spenser allows drivers to fill their washer fluid reservoir at the pumps, as soon as they realize they are running low and without the need for another plastic jug that may or may not be recycled.
The company has about a dozen machines located in gas stations across the Pacific Northwest, including eight Divine stations in the Spokane area. But, working with a Canadian distributor, the company has sold more than 50 units for use north of the border.
Since one of the selling points of Spenser is that it eliminates the need for plastic packaging, Korish said, it makes sense to look for market segments that are particularly receptive to “green” products.
 “Only five percent of the world population lives in the United States,” Korish said, so if business owners limit themselves to U.S. markets, they could be missing some of their best clients or consumers.
Different needs addressed
At the Export Readiness Center in Spokane, business owners can meet with a certified global business professional to assess their export potential and gain access to up-to-date market research from around the world. The services of the center are provided at no cost and are completely confidential.
“Each company has different needs and we help them in different ways,” Korish said.
Register for the New-to-Export and New-to-Market seminar on Sept. 20 at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake by going to or call 509-358-7890. The seminar is 9 a.m.-noon and lunch is included in the $20 fee. For more information about the Washington SBDC Network, go to
This program is hosted by the Washington Small Business Development Center in partnership with the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board and is sponsored by Grant County Development Council, Port of Moses Lake, Department of Commerce and Sterling Savings Bank.
Vern Jenkins,, 509-358-7565
Katerina Korish,, 509-358-7565