Little Known Federal Funding for Producing Companies

Everyone knows that, for all its benefits, trade brings with it, low cost imports. Domestic companies, may then find themselves facing severe price competition. However, few know that for decades the Federal Government has offered a surprisingly accessible and effective benefit for such companies. That benefit is a matching fund for outside expertise. And here’s the best part; the companies scope the projects and the companies select the service providers.

Matching funds are up to 50% of $150,000. Companies must qualify based on a decline in business that is at least partially linked to import competitions. Companies do not have to have projects defined or vendors selected to apply. The program provides ample time to decide on and implement projects. Companies may be active in the program for as long as seven years.

In the Pacific Northwest, the program is implemented by the Non-Profit Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NWTAAC) serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. NWTAAC will prepare the qualifying package for you and help in setting up the projects for the matching fund. NWTAAC handles all the compliance and documentation requirements of the program.

To better understand how TAAF might work for you, visit http://www.nwtaac.org or call 206-622-2730.

NWTAAC can usually determine if a company is likely to qualify and whether the program will be beneficial in a brief phone call. There is no cost or obligation for applying.

The program is for ‘traded sector’ companies – manufacturers, many farms and fishing operations, and some services companies. There is no size limit. Companies must have been in business for at least 2 years. Nationwide, the average participating company is about $25M in sales with many under $1M in sales. This is not a program for micro-enterprises, large corporations or start-ups.

Why this one benefit? Think about it, if a company has strong price competition, something has to change. And for small to medium sized companies that change is nearly always going to be led by, facilitated by, or to some extent implemented by outside experts. We are talking about improved web presence, better sales and marketing execution, quality certification, process improvement, product design, or even far reaching revision of a company’s market position.

Common outcomes of the program are company survival, sales increases, employment increases, productivity growth, and long-term stability.

You many know of the TAA for Workers program or “Trade Act” which focuses on worker retraining. While similarly named, this is a completely different program specifically for companies and implemented through the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.