The deadline in Massachusetts to apply for State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grants is Wednesday, September 30

BOSTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that 48 state international trade agencies successfully competed for $19 million in grants to support export growth among small businesses through SBA's competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

Loretta Greene, an Associate Administrator for SBA's Office of International Trade, said: “The SBA is committed to assisting small businesses in entering and prospering in the global marketplace. Through SBA's STEP awards, states provide small businesses with the critical funding they need to thrive internationally while creating jobs and strengthening their communities.”

The opportunities for small businesses to grow by exporting are substantial, especially during this unprecedented time. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a paradigm shift to increased web-based sales and virtual trade missions to reach 95 percent of the world's consumers located outside the United States. Exporting is a meaningful way for U.S. businesses to grow revenue and diversify their customer base.

The Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (“MOITI”), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (“MSBDC”) and the Massachusetts Export Center, is accepting applications until Wednesday, September 30.

Eligible businesses may apply for grants ranging from a minimum of $6,000 to a maximum of $12,000 per business to reimburse for costs associated with pre-approved projects, activities, or services undertaken during October 1, 2020, September 30, 2021.

STEP is designed to help small businesses take advantage of these opportunities by increasing the number of small businesses that export, the value of their exports, and the number of small businesses that explore significant new trade opportunities. Expanding the base of small business exporters and streamlining the process is a key component of the Administration's small business strategy. Since the STEP program's creation ten years ago, SBA has awarded approximately $157 million in grants to fund export opportunities to increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.

The 2020 STEP awards will provide states with resources to assist their small businesses by accessing the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities. STEP awards help fund exporting activities, such as participating in foreign trade missions and foreign market sales trips, obtaining services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, accessing expertise in designing international marketing campaigns and export trade show exhibits, participating in training workshops, and more.

STEP awards are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the SBA's Office of International Trade (OIT).

About the Office of International Trade

As the U.S. Small Business Administration's office for the support of small business international trade development, the Office of International Trade works in cooperation with other federal agencies and public and private-sector groups to encourage small business exports and assist small businesses seeking to export.

Through 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers, SBA district offices, and various service-provider partners, we direct and coordinate SBA's ongoing export initiatives to encourage small businesses going global.

About the “U.S. Small Business Administration”

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality.

As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the federal government's strength, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster.

It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

Source: Press Release
Date: September 28, 2020 ; 202-853-5792
Release Number: 20-25