The President’s “E” and “E Star” Awards
The President’s “E” Award was created by Executive Order of the President to afford suitable recognition to persons, firms, or organizations that contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports.
The President’s “E Star” Award, which was authorized by the Secretary of Commerce, affords continuing recognition of noteworthy export promotion efforts.
Winners of the “E” and “E Star” Award are authorized to fly the blue and white banner, to display the accompanying certificate of commendation which is signed by the Secretary of Commerce in the name and by the authority of the President, to wear and issue to employees an “E” or “E Star” lapel pin, and to refer to the award in their advertising.
History of the “E” Awards
During World War II, more than 4,000 ”E” Pennants were presented to war plants in recognition of production excellence. The famous flag with the big “E” emblazoned on it became a badge of patriotism in action.
President Kennedy revived the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters, establishing the “E” Award Program by Executive Order 10978 on December 5, 1961. The “E Star” was authorized in 1969 to recognize “E” Award winners for continued efforts in export expansion.
Types of Awards
“E” Awards exist to recognize exporters and organizations that facilitate exporting. Learn more about the three types of “E” Awards below:
- President’s “E” Award for Exports is awarded to an exporting firm or organization that has made significant contributions to the increase of U.S. exports.
- President’s “E” Award for Export Service is awarded to a firm or organization that may not export directly, but facilitates the exports of others.
- President’s “E Star” Award for Exports or Export Service recognizes continued superior performance in increasing or promoting exports (previous recipients of the President’s “E” Award or “E Star” Award may apply). A maximum of four “E Star” Awards are available, each recognizing a distinct four-year period of export work.
Learn more about the types of “E” Awards, how to apply, and get your questions answered.
President’s “E” Award for Exports
The President’s “E” Award for Exports is awarded to an exporting firm or organization that has made significant contributions to the increase of U.S. exports.
- The primary criterion for the President’s “E” Award for Exports is four years of successive export growth, usually accompanied by a rising percentage of export sales within total sales. The application should demonstrate export expansion that is measurable, innovative, sustainable, and has broad impact.
President’s “E” Award for Export Service
The President’s “E” Award for Export Service is awarded to a firm or organization that may not export directly, but facilitates the exports of others.
- The primary criterion for the President’s “E” Award for Export Service is four years of contributions to export expansion. Applicants must detail results of their work to support the export growth of others. The application should demonstrate export expansion that is measurable, innovative, sustainable, and has broad impact.
President’s “E Star” Award for Exports or Export Service
President’s “E Star” Award for Exports or Export Service recognizes continued superior performance in increasing or promoting exports (previous recipients of the President’s “E” Award or “E Star” Award may apply). A maximum of four “E Star” Awards are available, each recognizing a distinct four-year period of export work.
Previous recipients of the President’s “E” Award may apply for the President’s “E Star” Award for continued superior performance in increasing or promoting exports.
- “E Star” Award applicants should show four years of successive export growth since winning the “E” Award. Previous “E Star” Award recipients may apply for additional “E Star” Awards to recognize four additional years of contributions to export expansion. There is a maximum of four E Stars.
How to Apply
Application Period: Applications for the President’s E-Awards will be accepted between November 1 and the Friday following the Martin Luther King holiday in mid-January each year.
Application Process: Applications must be reviewed by the U.S. Commercial Service local offices and approved for submission. Applications must be submitted electronically.
The application consists of a fillable application form, a narrative justification, and the IRS waiver.
E Awards Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How are companies eligible for the President’s E Awards?
A. Applicants must be a U.S. entity and must have contributed to U.S. export growth.
There are two categories for the Award:
- Exporters (goods, services, commodities)
- Must demonstrate export growth for most recent four years.
- Export Service Providers- (those that help other U.S. companies to export)
- Must detail work that has resulted in export growth for their clients over the most recent four years.
Applicants detail their work to grow exports and highlight activities that are:
- Sustainable long-term, and
- Work of Broad Impact.
Q. What size companies can get the E Award? Is there a minimum export value or company size, or maximum company size?
A. All sizes of companies have received E Awards over the 60+ year history of the program. Company size and export value are not considered. Each year we could have winners that are very small companies with only a couple of employees or very large companies with thousands of employees. We could have winning companies with total export value in the hundreds of thousands and winning companies with exports in the billions. More of our winners tend to be from small to mid-size companies, as more exporting companies are small to mid-size.
Q. Am I competing against other companies in my industry?
A. No! All applicants are competing against themselves, i.e., their own record of contributions to export growth. We never compare applicants to each other. It would be impossible to compare a 3-person company in Aerospace to a 10,000-employee, multi-national Aerospace company. Both are worthy of recognition if qualified. And not being industry experts, our staff would be ill equipped to compare the value of one company’s work to another’s.
Q. Is there a limit on how many Awards can be granted in a year?
A. No. We do not limit the number of Awards. We could not limit them to one per state, for instance. It would not be fair for all companies in California (the world’s 5th largest economy) to vie for a single spot, where a company in Wyoming would have much less competition. The E Awards is not a competition in any way, other than an applicant competing against their own record of success over the previous four years.
Q. Who sees the information I submit in my application? You are asking for sales figures and strategies, and I want to make sure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
A. E Awards information is considered confidential business information and protected by the Trade Secrets Act. This includes any case studies. Only staff working on the E Awards program have access to your submitted information. We can’t use the information you submit for the E Awards for any other purpose. Your information is not releasable by us under FOIA unless you have made the information public elsewhere.
If you are selected for the Award, the company’s name, city and state, and contact information is made available. If you are not selected for the Award, no one even knows you applied because we do not release a list of applicants.
Q. What is vetting and why is the IRS involved at all?
A. All applicants are checked out to make sure there is nothing that might be embarrassing to the President if the Award were conferred. Recipients are held up as an example to others of high achievement and something to emulate. It would be pretty embarrassing if the recipient was getting an Award from the President and in trouble for not paying taxes, for instance. Or maybe for violating export laws or defaulting on loans guaranteed by the Federal government.
We check Lexis Nexis, ask other Federal agencies to check their records for pertinent information, and ask the IRS to check their records to make sure applicants are current on filing and paying taxes and not being investigated for fraud. We provide other agencies with the company name and address; the IRS receives a tax check waiver (page three of the E Awards application). We do NOT share your application or sales figures with anyone else, even the IRS or other Federal agencies. The only exception to this would be if in your application you disclosed practices that were a violation of Federal law; then we are required to turn over concerning information to the appropriate agency.
Q. Will we get to meet the President and go to the White House?
A. You never know…Some Presidents personally present the Awards from time to time at the White House. Usually, the Awards are signed by and presented by the Secretary of Commerce in the name and by the authority of the President of the United States. Most years the E Awards ceremony is held in the auditorium of the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC.
Previous Presidential "E" Award Recipients
Want to Learn More?
Find an International Trade Specialist in an office near you to learn more about the E Award Program and how we can assist with growing your international sales.