SBA Announces Grant Available for State of Florida Trade and Export Promotion
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The SBA announced today that for the third year, states will be able to apply for grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration starting April 21 to support efforts to increase exporting by small businesses. The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program was appropriated $8 million to award grants by September 30, 2014. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis.
The STEP initiative has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export. The 50 states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to apply. The award amounts will vary based on the awardee’s proposed project plan and budget. 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.
Results for the STEP program have been very strong. In FY 2012, awardees reported a return on investment of federal funds of over seventeen-to-one.
“With today’s technological advances, small businesses are better equipped than ever to compete in a global marketplace. Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses that are looking to expand and grow. The STEP program is another way that the U.S. Small Business Administration is partnering with states to give small businesses the tools and resources they need to take their business to the next level,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The state of Florida applied and received nearly $1.2 million through the SBA grant program, said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero.
“The STEP program and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) used funds to increase the value and number of small businesses exporting here in the Sunshine State. This was achieved by conducting trade missions and trade shows in countries representing both emerging and developed markets. Another key component has been EFI’s ability to help businesses develop customized export marketing plans through the state’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network,” said Marrero.
A state may not submit more than one application for a STEP grant and should support the following export related activities: participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the pilot program.
The STEP grant program announcement will be posted at www.grants.gov on April 21, 2014. The application period will be from April 21 through May 20. For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/step.