COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

News Release: Massachusetts Awarded $504,478 in State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) funding to Support Small Business Trade Growth

Massachusetts Awarded $504,478 in State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) funding to support state-level investments in small business export programs
Release Date: 
Friday, October 7, 2016
Release Number: 
Norman Eng, 617-565-8510

Boston, MA – Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), today announced $18.85 million to support export growth among American small businesses.  The funding was awarded through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). 

Contreras-Sweet heralded the news as a boon for America’s small businesses: 
“Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power can be found outside of the United States, but only about one percent of America’s 28 million small businesses are reaching customers beyond our borders.  Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets.  These STEP awards, in addition to SBA's export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help small businesses across our nation have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global.”

STEP awards were created to advance key priorities identified in the President’s National Export Initiative, namely to expand the base of small businesses that become exporters and to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small businesses.  

These awards are granted to U.S. states and territories to support programs that help small businesses expand their export-related activities.  This includes participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services for access to international markets, as well as the design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, export training workshops and more.

“Assistance from the STEP program has been valuable and appreciated.  This funding has allowed our company the ability to fulfill a number of initiatives. Most significantly, achieving important product certifications that opened up key International markets and application opportunities,” said Justin Dechene, Executive Vice President for Danvers-based Auburn Systems, LLC.

STEP funds allow small businesses the opportunity to meet foreign buyers face-to-face at trade shows or on trade missions, and complement SBA’s export loan guaranty programs, which can finance the working capital needed to complete export orders and in turn help finance the expansion of production facilities due to export success.  Loans are available up to $5 million.  More information can be obtained from SBA’s Export Finance Mangers located at 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the country.

Recipients of STEP awards in the first three rounds (FY 2011, 2012, 2014) reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.
FY2016 (Year 5) STEP Awards
Awardees were determined via a competitive process, as required by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.

Awardee    Amount
Alabama    $125,987
Alaska    $194,000
Arizona    $299,903
California    $844,214
Colorado    $186,140
Connecticut    $244,000
Delaware    $282,636
Hawaii    $700,000
Idaho    $388,500
Illinois    $850,000
Iowa    $130,000
Kansas    $383,000
Kentucky    $467,000
Louisiana    $160,000
Maine    $145,000
Maryland    $777,579
Massachusetts    $504,478
Michigan    $820,000
Minnesota    $155,736
Mississippi    $509,760
Missouri    $634,134
Montana    $364,969
Nebraska    $261,340
Nevada    $283,000
New Hampshire    $213,000
New Jersey    $750,000
New Mexico    $200,000
New York    $602,115
North Carolina    $850,000
North Dakota    $231,045
Ohio    $750,000
Oklahoma    $464,900
Oregon    $562,500
Rhode Island    $427,950
South Carolina    $333,364
South Dakota    $116,250
Texas    $800,000
Utah    $365,700
Vermont    $286,439
Virginia    $359,461
Washington    $850,000
West Virginia    $186,500
Wisconsin    $631,000
Wyoming    $158,400
TOTAL      $18,850,000  

The SBA Office of International Trade resource page can be found here.  Additional information on STEP can be found here.  


About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.