The SBA announced today that for the third year, states will be able to apply for grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration starting this week to support efforts to increase exporting by small businesses.
The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program was appropriated $8 million to award grants by Sept. 30, 2014. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, the agency said Tuesday.
The STEP initiative has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export. The 50 states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to apply.
The award amounts will vary based on the awardee’s proposed project plan and budget. Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s National Export Initiative, the SBA said in a statement released Tuesday.
Results for the STEP program have been “very strong,” with FY 2012 awardees reporting a return on investment of federal funds of more than 17-to-1, the agency said.
“With today’s technological advances, small businesses are better equipped than ever to compete in a global marketplace. Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses that are looking to expand and grow,” said SBA Administrator María Contreras-Sweet.
“The STEP program is another way that the U.S. Small Business Administration is partnering with states to give small businesses the tools and resources they need to take their business to the next level,” she said.
The STEP grant program application period runs through May 20. For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/step.