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SBA Announces $18.8 Million to Support Small Business Trade Growth

2016 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) awards support state-level investments in small business export programs

Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), today announced $18.85 million to support export growth among American small businesses.  The funding was awarded through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

Contreras-Sweet heralded the news as a boon for America’s small businesses: “Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power can be found outside of the United States, but only about one percent of America’s 28 million small businesses are reaching customers beyond our borders.  Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets.  These STEP awards, in addition to SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help small businesses across our nation have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global.”

STEP awards were created to advance key priorities identified in the President’s National Export Initiative, namely to expand the base of small businesses that become exporters and to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small businesses.

These awards are granted to U.S. states and territories to support programs that help small businesses expand their export-related activities.  This includes participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services for access to international markets, as well as the design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, export training workshops and more.

STEP funds allow small businesses the opportunity to meet foreign buyers face-to-face at trade shows or on trade missions, and complement SBA’s export loan guaranty programs, which can finance the working capital needed to complete export orders and in turn help finance the expansion of production facilities due to export success.  Loans are available up to $5 million.  More information can be obtained from SBA’s Export Finance Mangers located at 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the country.

Recipients of STEP awards in the first three rounds (FY 2011, 2012, 2014) reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.

The State of Texas Department of Agriculture will use STEP award funds to support export development for ESBCs by providing export training, technical assistance, and customized advisory services through the University of Texas at San Antonio – International Trade Center. ESBCs will also be supported in exhibiting at three foreign trade shows related to healthcare, aerospace, and feed/food production industries in the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Nigeria, South Africa, and France. Furthermore, STEP will support a trade mission to sub-Saharan Africa on consumer food products, as well U.S. Department of Commerce services.

FY2016 (Year 5) STEP Awards

Awardees were determined via a competitive process, as required by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.

Awardee                     Amount

Alabama                     $125,987

Alaska                         $194,000

Arizona                       $299,903

California                    $844,214

Colorado                     $186,140

Connecticut                $244,000

Delaware                    $282,636

Hawaii                         $700,000

Idaho                          $388,500

Illinois                         $850,000

Iowa                            $130,000

Kansas                         $383,000

Kentucky                     $467,000

Louisiana                    $160,000

Maine                         $145,000

Maryland                    $777,579

Massachusetts           $504,478

Michigan                     $820,000

Minnesota                  $155,736

Mississippi                  $509,760

Missouri                      $634,134

Montana                     $364,969

Nebraska                    $261,340

Nevada                       $283,000

New Hampshire         $213,000

New Jersey                  $750,000

New Mexico                $200,000

New York                    $602,115

North Carolina           $850,000

North Dakota             $231,045

Ohio                            $750,000

Oklahoma                   $464,900

Oregon                        $562,500

Rhode Island              $427,950

South Carolina           $333,364

South Dakota             $116,250

Texas                           $800,000

Utah                            $365,700

Vermont                     $286,439

Virginia                       $359,461

Washington                $850,000

West Virginia              $186,500

Wisconsin                   $631,000

Wyoming                    $158,400

TOTAL                         $18,850,000 

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