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GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– The State of Colorado is looking to help more small businesses reach international customers. The State Trade and Expansion Program hands out hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

“It’s been instrumental in adding to our customer base internationally,” said Andrew Coors, the CEO of Steelhead Composites. “If we didn’t go to these shows people would know we exist and they wouldn’t know our capabilities.”

Steelhead was set up in Colorado seven years ago. The company specializes in making metal containers that are filled with liquid or gas at high pressures.

“By being able to shave off a tremendous amount of weight and still have the same safety and hold the same pressure as a steel alternative, we allow our customers to do stuff in a lighter, safer way,” Coors said.

Earlier this week Steelhead Composites was in Singapore at a trade show getting products in front of potential buyers.

“The STEP program has been fantastic because it’s allowed us to exhibit at trade shows and go to trade shows that otherwise our small budget would not allow,” Coors said.

The company also attended a show in Germany earlier this year. It now has over 100 customers in 26 countries. There are only 23 full-time employees.

“For the economy to grow we need to export products. and not just export to surrounding states. We have to export to other countries,” Coors said. “We’re not known as a manufacturing state; we’re not known as a high-tech state internationally as much as we should. So, it’s good to show we’re doing things other than just being a destination for skiing to the international community.”

The state is looking to help more companies. Last year 50 companies used grant money to go to shows in Germany and Mexico. The Office of Economic Development and International Trade helps administer the STEP grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are application guidelines.


Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver headquarters.

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