WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration is inviting states and U.S. territories to apply for $30 million in grants that can be used in a variety of ways to help increase exporting by small businesses. SBA began accepting applications on March 27.
“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,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “Through the STEP program, new-to-export and new-to-market firms are selling American products and services in markets all over the world. The future looks even more exciting - with key marketing initiatives ranging from South Korea, to India and the European Union. This year’s grants will further help states assist small businesses enter and succeed in the global market.”
The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant initiative, launched under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, is a pilot grant program authorizing up to $90 million in grants to the states and U.S. territories over three years to help them increase the number of businesses that export, as well as the value of exports by small businesses.
In fiscal year 2011, the STEP program awarded 52 grants totaling $30 million. The average grant was for $577,000.
Each state, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa may submit a single application under the program each year. Activities authorized include participation in foreign trade missions and market sales trips, subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce, design of international marketing products and campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training, and other efforts aligned with program goals.
The STEP program announcement will be posted at www.Grants.gov on March 27, 2012. The application period will be March 27, 2012 through May 17, 2012. Awards will be issued by September 30, 2012. See more information at www.sba.gov/STEP.