Salem business touts federal grant program during Sen. Shaheen visit
SALEM — With the federal government shutdown over, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said the government’s focus should now turn to job creation.
On Friday, Shaheen toured several state businesses to talk about efforts to create jobs and strengthen the economy.
One of those stops was at Salem-based Corfin Industries to discuss the success that business has had with the State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program (STEP) with managing director Don Tyler.
Because of the grant program, Corfin Industries has been able to expand into overseas markets and increase its workforce by 10 percent, Tyler said.The STEP program was created by the Shaheen-sponsored Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and is administered by the state’s International Trade Resource Center. The grants help small businesses in the state prepare for new markets, access export financing and attend trade missions.
Tyler said the grant has helped his company attend international conferences that are typically beyond the reach of small- and mid-sized businesses. In fact, after Shaheen’s visit to Corfin on Friday, Tyler was scheduled to depart on a trade mission to Japan.
Corfin Industries provides component preparation services to the defense, medical, telecommunications and other industries. Its core technology, robotic hot solder dip, was pioneered in the 1980s and today serves major original equipment manufacturers and their subcontractors around the world.
But Tyler said it is the overseas expansion made possible by the STEP grant that has led to the company’s recent healthy growth.
“One to two percent of our revenue was from outside the United States, and now that number is 12 percent and growing,” Tyler said. “We have 10 people working here now who would not be here if it was not for that extra business.”
Shaheen said Corfin’s success is indicative of the goal of the STEP program to allow small and medium-sized businesses to compete internationally.
Shaheen said it is imperative to continue that reach to international markets for small businesses, because 95 percent of all business markets are outside the country.