Small businesses across the country will have access to $17.4 million in funding to help them enter and compete in the global marketplace. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will make 40 awards from the agency’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program to states and territories to support activities to increase exporting by small businesses.
“Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18% more,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Yet less than one percent of small businesses export; and of those that do, 58 percent of them export to only one country. Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion. SBA’s STEP program ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding states and their export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses to launch their services and products abroad. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, SBA’s STEP program ensures that America’s small businesses can succeed in the 21st century global economy.”
The purpose of the 2015 awards is for states to assist small businesses with export related activities or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program. These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.
The STEP program is designed to increase both the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting. Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s National Export Initiative.
Recipients in the first two rounds of STEP awards, in FY 2011 and FY 2012, reported a strong return on investment of over 19:1.
Click here for additional information on the STEP program and the FY 2015 awardees.