Office of International Trade

Exciting News about the State Trade Expansion Program

On April 21, 2014, the U.S. Small Business Administration posted a program announcement for the third year of the STEP Grant Program. By September 30, 2014 the SBA will issue a total of $8,000,000 in STEP cooperative agreements to states, territories and the District of Columbia. The highest award amount will be $500,000.

Working with $60,000,000 during the first two years of the program, state grantees have reported approximately $885,000,000 in export sales supported by STEP grants. This represents a return on investment (ROI) of 14.75 to 1, meaning that for every dollar in federal grants, there was $14.75 in sales made by U.S. small business exporters. For the third round of STEP grants, the SBA will emphasize the ROI of the planned activities that support the proposed milestone goals.

Program Facts

In the first year, 2011, the SBA awarded fifty-one cooperative agreements, totaling $28,977,094 with an average award of just over $568,000. For the second year, 2012, the Agency awarded 52 cooperative agreements, totaling $29,996,182 with an average award of almost $577,000.

About the Program

The program’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export and to increase the value of exports by small businesses. 

STEP activities are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade. 

STEP was authorized by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (HR 644). The 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the following insular areas: U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa are eligible to compete for an award. The ratio of Federal to non-Federal matching funds is 75% to 25%, except for high exporting states, for which the ratio is 65% to 35%. Matching funds required by the insular areas are waived up to $200,000. 

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