SBA Solicits State Export Grant Applications

After awarding $30 million in grant funds in FY 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching its second year of awarding funds to states through the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program. STEP is a three-year pilot program authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 to disburse a total of $90 million to states and U.S. territories through 2013. The underlying goal is to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses already exporting.

In FY 2011, 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands all were awarded funds through the STEP Program. The average grant size was $577,000.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced in March that SBA would begin accepting applications March 27, stating: “Federal investment in small business exporting is already beginning to pay dividends in foreign sales and economic development, which translates into a stronger economy and job creation.”

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.

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.