WASHINGTON – Today Senator John Kerry congratulated Boston’s Paula Murphy for receiving the national Small Business Development Centers Service Excellence and Innovation Award by the Small Business Administration for 2008. Paula is executive director of the Massachusetts Export Center, a part of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center network, which provides targeted, high-impact counseling, workshops, market research, and international business development assistance designed to help small businesses in the state grow their export business. Senator Kerry met with Murphy while she was in Washington D.C. to receive her award at an awards presentation during National Small Business Week.

“In these tough economic times, exports are driving our economy and that’s why Paula’s work is so important,” said Senator Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “I’m proud that Paula and the folks at the Massachusetts Export Center and all of our Small Business Development Centers are doing such an exemplary job helping Massachusetts small businesses sell their goods overseas. We’ll be working in Washington to make sure that all small businesses have access to the kind of excellent assistance that the Massachusetts Export Center provides for our small firms.”

The Massachusetts Export Center has offices in Boston, Worcester, Holyoke and New Bedford, and serves more than 1,000 businesses per year. Between 2005 and 2006, the Center’s clients increased their export sales by 27 percent on average – three times the nine percent growth rate for the state’s overall export performance during the same time period. In 2006, clients reported more than $160 million in export sales as a direct result of the Center’s assistance, helping to retain or generate over 2,000 jobs.