SBA Awards $30 Million in State Export Grants

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced $30 million in grant awards to be made through the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP). The awardees for this first round of grant fund competition were 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. STEP is a three-year pilot program authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, with the goal of increasing the number of small businesses that are exporting and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses already exporting.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced the awards earlier this week, stating: “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 grand funding, through the STEP, will support 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.

SBA is anticipating a second round of grant competitions sometime during the winter of 2011. The initial $30 million in STEP grants is estimated to support a total of $43.4 million export promotion projects throughout the states.

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, please click here.