Thursday, August 1, 2002 - The three finalists for this year's STEP Exporter of the Year Award are Harvest Sun Seed & Grain Company Ltd. of Regina, Interactive Tracking Systems Inc. (Itracks) of Saskatoon and Solid Innovation®, Inc. (formerly known as PalmX Route Accounting) of Prince Albert. The award winner will be announced during a trade conference organized by Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership and the Export Development Canada (EDC). "Growing Locally - Succeeding Globally" will be held September 29 - October 1, 2002, in Saskatoon.

"Saskatchewan's economy is export-driven and very successfully so, by successful companies all over the province. With this award, Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership (STEP) celebrates Saskatchewan exporters who introduce new products or services, increase their export sales and have an impact on the community and job creation said STEP President and CEO John Treleaven.

The Annual STEP Exporter of the Year Award sponsored by iTrade Finance Inc. acknowledges these companies for their success in tackling world markets.

Harvest Sun manufacturers and distributes the world's only certified organic birdseed blends for companion birds. Harvest only started exporting in April of 2001, but reports exports now account for 100% of its total sales. "Our venture serves as an example to all Saskatchewan entrepreneurs that ideas do not have to be big, they just have to be good, and they have to be backed up with lots of passion and hard work," says Randy Johnson, President, Harvest Sun. "While some people dream of great accomplishments, Harvest Sun stayed awake and achieved them."

Itracks focuses on the research and development of innovative web-based products and services to meet the needs of the market research industry. The company was a finalist last year as well. Despite being located far from its primary market on the American eastern seaboard, Itracks has built an impressive export business with 92% of the company's total sales generated outside Saskatchewan. "Itracks is at the forefront of the new economy where technology allows for an international exchange of services through a virtual environment," says company President Dan Weber. The company is committed to Saskatchewan and has been providing positions for talented people skilled in high-tech and encouraging them to stay in the province.

Solid Innovation provides a specialized ERP system that combines mobile, accounting, and management features. It is designed for DSD route accounting and similar mobile businesses. The company's 2002 export sales more than tripled over the previous year. "Our objective over the next three years is to continue our growth into the U.S. and expand into the Caribbean and other marketplaces. In a market where, traditionally, one must visit the client to make the sale, we have used Saskatchewan ingenuity to develop and hone Solid Innovation remote services, so we serve a world market without leaving Prince Albert," says Craig Fisher, Chief Executive Officer.

STEP is a non-profit, government/industry partnership designed to promote the growth of Saskatchewan's export industry. STEP assists provincial businesses to realize global marketing opportunities through specially tailored services and programs. STEP pursues growth in existing foreign markets and opens doors to new ones. Members include both businesses that are experienced and those that are new to international trade. The team of professionals has the experience, knowledge and international contacts to help companies meet their international marketing objectives.