SPOKANE, Wash.—FLEXHIBIT , a Spokane Valley-based business that designs and manufactures interactive science exhibits for discovery centers, children’s museums and schools, has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2019 Pacific Northwest Small Business Exporter of the Year.
FLEXHIBIT sought export assistance from the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) after being approached by an overseas buyer for the first time in 2015. Export sales now account for 45 percent of company revenue and have enabled the staff to grow by 25 percent. FLEXHIBIT’s hands-on, multi-user exhibits demonstrating concepts such as Bernoulli’s Principle and Newton’s Third Law of Motion are furthering STEM education in museums and discovery centers around the globe.
Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC, said FLEXHIBIT is a dynamic, innovative company that is truly doing well by doing good in the world. “FLEXHIBIT is improving STEM education in the U.S. and overseas, while at the same time, providing well-paying design and manufacturing jobs in rural Eastern Washington,” he said. “We are so excited FLEXHIBIT is getting this much-deserved recognition.”
“The SBDC has been such a support to us,” Quisenberry said. “We really love working with them and appreciate the support. Anyone that does not understand what the SBDC can do for you should investigate. We are certainly happy that we found them when we did.”
Vern Jenkins, the SBDC international trade specialist in Spokane, has been working with Quisenberry since June 2015. He credits Quisenberry and her staff with thinking big but starting small when it comes to export. By taking the time to get the details right the first time, and think through various potential pitfalls and obstacles, they’ve been able to steadily grow their export markets on multiple continents without major mishaps.
The SBA Small Business Exporter of the Year award recognizes small businesses that have experienced significant growth in export sales, profits and jobs, and have been exporting for at least three years. FLEXHIBIT was selected from winners in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and is one of 10 finalists in the SBA National Exporter of the Year award.
Flexibit will be recognized at the SBA Seattle District gala on May 8, 2019. Other SBA awards that will be recognized at the gala include the Small Business Person of the Year, Veteran-Owned Small Business, Rising Startup and Small Business Champion of the Year.
The Washington SBDC network includes more than two dozen business advisors and two international trade specialists located in communities across the state, who provide one-on-one confidential business advising, demand driven training and market research to both new and established small business owners. The Washington SBDC is hosted by Washington State University and receives funding from WSU and other institutions of higher education, economic development and civic and business groups. Match funding for SBDC services is authorized by Congress and administered through the SBA.
By Hope Tinney, Washington SBDC
For more about FLEXHIBIT and the SBA Exporter of the Year award, click here. https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/spokane-exhibit-manufacturer-owner-named-2019-sba-pacific-northwest-small-business-exporter-year
For more about the Washington SBDC, go to https://wsbdc.org