The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded $300,000 to the Puerto Rico Trade and Export Company in competitive State Trade Expansion Program funding,
“Through the STEP program, we are making additional resources available to Puerto Rico’s small businesses so that they may thrive in the global marketplace and further promote job creation,” said SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo. “The award SBA has granted to the Puerto Rico Trade and Export Company is an important resource to help drive our local economy forward.”
The award will cover 75% of the budget that Trade and Export will use to support export growth among small businesses, the SBA said.
The local award is one of 41 allocations to state international trade agencies, which will split $18 million in SBA funds.
“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 SBA 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,” Pilkerton said.
“The SBA’s STEP partners not only help entrepreneurs increase and diversify their customer base; they also help to create and retain local jobs,” the official added.
Presently, 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,” the SBA said.
The 2019 STEP awards help provide small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities.
Exporting activities include: 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, and participating in training workshops, as well as other means of engagement.
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, the agency said.
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 worldwide.