SBA Announces Funding To Boost Small Business Exports
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that 40 awards from its State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program—totaling $17.4 million in funding—will be made to states and territories to support activities that help small businesses enter and compete in the global marketplace.
“Exports are a central part of America's economic growth, with export-supported jobs paying 15-18 percent more,” says SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Yet less than one percent of small businesses export; and of those that do, 58 percent of them export to only one country. Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion.”
Sweet says SBA’s STEP program ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. “By funding states and their export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses to launch their services and products abroad,” she says. “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, SBA's STEP program ensures that America's small businesses can succeed in the 21st century global economy.”
The purpose of the 2015 awards is for states to assist small businesses with export-related activities or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program. These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.
The STEP program is designed to increase both the number of small businesses that export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting. 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.
Recipients in the first two rounds of STEP awards, in FY 2011 and FY 2012, reported a strong return on investment ratio of over 19:1. For additional information on the STEP program and the FY 2015 awardees, click here.