Audit of State Trade Expansion Program

Date Issued: 
Monday, January 29, 2018
Report Number: 
18-11

This audit report presents the results of our audit of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) with the objectives (1) to determine the extent to which STEP recipients measured program activity performance and the results of those measurements and (2) to review the overall management and effectiveness of STEP.  The purpose of SBA’s STEP is to make grants to states to carry out programs that assist eligible small business concerns in the state exploring significant new trade opportunities as established by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. 

We found that while SBA has made significant progress in improving the overall management and effectiveness of STEP since the audit of the pilot program in 2012, SBA needs to improve its performance measures and program oversight.  Absent improving existing performance measurements and providing effective oversight to assist recipients with meeting their goals, SBA is at risk of not fully realizing the impact of the program in increasing the number of small businesses exploring significant new trade opportunities.  The OIG made six recommendations to improve SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program.  SBA’s management planned actions resolve five recommendations and one recommendation has been closed.

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