STEP State Grant Program Kicks Off

As passed under last year’s Small Business Jobs Act, the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) pilot program kicked off March 1. The STEP program is a $90 million over three years initiative designed to help the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) enhance export assistance to small business and thereby increase U.S. small-business exports.

The STEP program aims to address two specific goals: 1) increase the number of small businesses that export, and 2) increase the value of exports for those small businesses already exporting. The program is aimed at growing export opportunities in states that may not have as high a concentration of exporters, and requires that no more than 40 percent of the federal funds shall be given to the 10 states with the highest number of exporters.

Each year, $30 million will be made available to states who apply for grants. The application period for states for 2011 is between March 1 and April 26 with awards being issued no later than Sept. 20, 2011. States will compete based on their proposal to address the two primary goals, and federal funds will be used to fund between 65 and 75 percent of the state program.

Please click here for more on the STEP program.