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SBA Awards FY 2019 State Trade Expansion Program Grants

SBA Awards SC $360,400 to Expand Small Business Exporting
Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Release Number: 
Savannah Wilburn, 803-253-3121

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that $360,400 has been awarded to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, who successfully competed for funding to support export growth among small businesses through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). 

“SBA is proud to partner with the STEP grant winners and provide much-needed resources that help small businesses increase their sales by exporting,” said Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “These grants are especially helpful as our country is in the midst of negotiating a number of trade agreements, including one between the United States–Mexico–Canada (USMCA). All of the Administration’s work is aimed at modernizing and creating a better deal for America’s consumers, businesses, including small businesses, and workers. The SBA’s STEP partners not only help entrepreneurs increase and diversify their customer base; they also help to create and retain local jobs.”

Today, trade represents nearly 58% of the world’s $80 trillion economy, and 95% of the world’s consumers are located outside the United States.  Exporting is an important way for U.S. small businesses to grow revenue and boost local economies. STEP is designed to assist states with increasing the number of small businesses that export and the value of those exports.

"This is now nine consecutive years the Palmetto State has had a record year in total export sales. We understand that tremendous opportunities exist for our companies overseas," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "And, we are grateful to the U.S. Small Business Administration for once again awarding our great state with this grant, which will allow us to support South Carolina businesses seeking to expand their reach to new markets around the globe."

The 2019 STEP awards will help South Carolina assist their small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities. Projected to help more than 49 small and medium-sized businesses seize export opportunities this year, the grant funding reimburses a portion of business participation in upcoming S.C. Commerce trade missions to Australia, Taiwan, South Africa, Tanzania, Canada; major trade exhibitions, such as METS, MEDICA, Farnborough, IBEX and, involvement in U.S. Commercial Service programs, such as Trade Winds.

“Over 84 percent of businesses that export in South Carolina are small businesses, and they account for 11.2% of South Carolina’s exports,” said Gregg White, district director for the SBA South Carolina District Office. “The S.C. Department of Commerce has been very successful in using the SBA STEP Grant to support small businesses that wish to tap into foreign markets. We are excited to see more successful small business exporters, like Boyd Cycling, come from this program.”

Expanding the base of small business exporters and improving the process to explore new trade opportunities is a key component of SBA’s small business strategy. Since 2011, the STEP program has awarded approximately $157 million in grants to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.

Individual STEP awards are managed at the local level by state government organizations. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade administers the STEP awards at the national level.