Monday, October 3, 2011

Exporting Assistance for Small Businesses

photo source: jdnx
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided $30 million in grants to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to help increase exporting by small businesses during the next 12 months.  for trade and export promotion. The grants are part of the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program.

The funding will support participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscriptions to services provided by the Department of Commerce, website translation fees, design of international marketing media, trade show exhibitions, participation in training workshops, and other critical export initiatives.

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.

The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. 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.

“Strengthening the nation’s economy through a substantial increase of U.S. exports is a top priority for the Administration and the agency,” said Karen Mills, SBA Administrator. “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.”

Small businesses who want to receive assistance under the STEP program should contact the organizations serving their states. Find a list of these organizations and more information about the STEP program here.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.