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Small Business

Federal Government “STEPs” Up to Help Small Biz Expand Into Exports

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced an award of $17.4 million for small businesses to expand their commercial efforts into other countries for the fiscal year 2015.

In an official release, SBA administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet says:

“Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18 percent more. 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.”

With the economy taking severe hits over recent years, the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP) is the government’s answer to improving business and jobs. Authorized in 2010, it is a federal and state program that awards grants to states and territories of the U.S.

STEP aligns with President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative, which called for doubling U.S. exports at the time. STEP activities are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations and are authorized by Section 1207 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, as amended.

The latest round of awards is the fourth, with the $17.4 million going to 30 recipients around the country for the period of October 2015 through September 2016 giving an average of $580,000 per award.

In most cases the federal government provides 75 percent and the state provides 25 percent of the funding. It goes for support of export training show exhibits, design of international marketing products, subscriptions to services by the Department of Commerce and other efforts aligned with program goals.

For more information on the STEP program and to get in on next year’s grants, go to the resources section on the SBA website.

August 30, 2015

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