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SBA Announces Funding to Boost Export Opportunities for Small Businesses

STEP Program Awards $17.4 Million to Promote Small Business Global Trade; Pennsylvania receives more than $698 thousand to help small businesses export
Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Release Number: 
Robert Goza (610) 382-3084 |

WASHINGTON– Small businesses across the country have access to $17.4 million to help them enter and compete in the global marketplace. The Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced 40 awards from the agency’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program made to states and territories to support activities to increase exporting by small businesses.

"Exports are a central part of America's economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18% more. Yet, less than one percent of small businesses export; and of those that do, 58 percent only export to one country. Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “STEP ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets.”

“With more than two and a quarter million dollars going to Mid-Atlantic Region states and their export development partners, we’re delivering powerful tools and resources required for small businesses to launch services and products abroad,” added SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho. “With 95% of consumers living outside of the United States, STEP ensures America's small businesses succeed in the global economy.”

STEP 2015 helps states involve small businesses with export related activities and initiatives in line with the objectives of the program; including participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, U.S. Department of Commerce subscription services, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is receiving more than $698 thousand in STEP grant funding this year to help our small businesses break into and succeed in exporting,” said SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Director Tony Leta. “This is a great opportunity for business interested in exporting, like Helicopter Tech, Inc. (HTI), a Pennsylvanian woman-owned and managed aircraft parts business. Since its founding in 1995, HTI has expanded to support 300 companies in 23 countries and has used STEP grants to help make it happen.”

In 2005, HTI used STEP grant funds to pay for its participation in a Seoul, Korea tradeshow as the company’s introduction into the Korean market. Then, in February 2012, HTI used STEP grant funds to participate in a tradeshow in Singapore. HTI credits its participation in the initial Seoul tradeshow, and the relationships that it was able to solidify at the 2012 Singapore tradeshow, with winning it more than $2 million in business from new Korean clients since 2012. HTI continues to book new business based on these trips and plans to continue its expansion into Thailand, Malaysia and Korea. According to HTI President Rachel Carson, none of this would have been possible without STEP grand funding.

STEP increases the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting. Expanding the base of small exporters and making the process as easy as possible is key to the Administration’s National Export Initiative.

Recipients in the first two rounds of STEP awards, in FY 2011 and FY 2012, reported strong returns on investment of over 19:1.

Federal Award By State

Alabama $115,251

Arkansas $207,535

California $747,781

Colorado $195,938

Connecticut $350,000

Delaware $276,741

Hawaii $750,000

Idaho $346,708

Illinois $685,855

Iowa $190,000

Kansas $296,533

Kentucky $400,000

Maine $161,048

Maryland $518,413

Massachusetts $500,000

Michigan $750,000

Minnesota $564,132

Mississippi $540,100

Missouri $599,000

Montana $347,688

Nebraska $300,570

Nevada $300,000

New Hampshire $199,878

New Jersey $498,000

New Mexico $193,700

New York $663,893

North Carolina $746,800

North Dakota $287,694

Ohio $700,000

Oregon $450,000

Pennsylvania $698,613

Puerto Rico $288,650

Rhode Island $373,000

South Carolina $349,218

Utah $395,000

Vermont $174,461

Virginia $578,500


West Virginia $200,000

Wisconsin $712,000