$30 Million in SBA Grants to States to Help More Small Businesses Export
by Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
- Created: September 30, 2011, 4:40 pm
- Updated: March 2, 2014, 11:11 pm
This week, I visited Raleigh Denim, a small business in North Carolina. Inspired by a junior-high shop teacher who taught him to make things by hand, a young man named Victor and his wife Sarah started their business in their apartment. They had the idea that there could be demand for a handcrafted, iconic American-made product like jeans. They bought a cheap, old sewing machine and hired local people who knew – or could be taught – the old-fashioned ways of American textile manufacturing, an industry that I myself learned when working for my family’s business during college.
Their plan worked. They’ve grown to about 15 employees, they’ve sold thousands of pairs of jeans, and now they’re expanding into overseas markets in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere.
Today, exporting is an important way for small business to scale up and create the jobs that America needs now. That’s one of the reasons that the President signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act last year, which gave the SBA $30 million a year for three years to award to states. They’re called State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grants.
These STEP grants are a good example of how we’re working with state and local governments to support regional economic development. In Raleigh, I was joined by North Carolina’s Governor Bev Perdue to make the announcement that these funds have gone out the door nationwide.
North Carolina – home to about 7,000 small exporters – is receiving over $600,000 in STEP grant money to help small firms participate in trade shows, to help them go on trade missions abroad, and to promote their goods and services in foreign markets. Some of these STEP grants are even going to help provide translation services for businesses that need a website in a different language.
Let’s keep supporting small businesses like Raleigh Denim that want to start or expanding their exporting operation. That’s our commitment here at the SBA and throughout the Administration. If you're intrerested in exporting, go to www.business.usa.gov/export
Picture Caption: SBA Administrator Karen Mills (in blue suit) and North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue (in grey suit) with Raleigh Denim owners Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko (far left and far right)
About the Author
Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.
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