Forty-seven states, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia will receive $30 million total from the U.S. Small Business Administration in a second round of funding to support efforts to increase exporting by small businesses.
Puerto Rico will receive $455,559 through the agency’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) Initiative launched last year under the Small Business Jobs Act, is aimed at achieving two goals: 1) increase the number of small businesses that want to export and 2) increase the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export.
“With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, exporting gives small businesses the opportunity to reach new markets, increase sales and create jobs,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.
“The second round of STEP funding will be instrumental in helping small businesses start or expand their exporting opportunities so they can create an economy built to last,” she added.
Preliminary results for the program are “very strong.” In FY 2012, the SBA expects to report a return on investment of federal funds on the order of ten-to-one, the agency said.
The Small Business Jobs Act provided $60 million for the STEP Program for use over a two-year period. STEP services are locally designed to meet the specific international trade development needs of state and local small business communities; therefore, they vary from state to state.
In general, services include support for participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce, website translation fees, design of international marketing media, trade show exhibitions, and participation in training workshops.