The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing $30 million in grants to states, territories, and the District of Columbia, to help increase exporting by small businesses during the next 12 months. The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, under the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP).
The STEP program, launched in March, aligns with President Obama’s National Export Initiative. The President’s initiative calls for doubling U.S. exports in five years – and in so doing, supporting two million jobs. The program provides federal government funding for 65 to75 percent of program costs, with states supplying the remainder.
SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced the awards today at an event in Raleigh, N.C., at Raleigh Denim, a small business that produces and exports denim products. Forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands received STEP grants.
“Strengthening the nation’s economy through a substantial increase of U.S. exports is a top priority for the Administration and the agency,” said Mills. “This is a unique partnership between the federal government and the states. Sharing responsibilities and resources will help new small exporters across the country enter and succeed in the global market.”
The funding will support participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscriptions to services provided by the Department of Commerce, website translations fees, design of international marketing media, trade show exhibitions, participation in training workshops, and other critical export initiatives.
Small businesses that want to receive assistance under the STEP program should contact the organizations serving the states in which they are located. For a list of these organizations and more information about the STEP program, visit http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2889/resources/14315 .
The SBA anticipates it will conduct a new competition for STEP program grants during the winter of 2011. Awards will be made in September 2012 for export support services by states over the following 12 months.