The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has dedicated $20 million in grants to support the growth of exports among new small companies. These grants will be awarded to 49 state and territorial international trade agencies across the country as part of the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).
Isabella Casillas Guzmán, the Administrator of the SBA, announced this allocation in a recent press release. She emphasized the importance of the State Trade Expansion Program in providing funding to small businesses and contributing to the growth of the economy through international trade opportunities. Guzmán highlighted that the program has been successful in supporting small businesses for over ten years.
Since its creation in 2010 as part of the Small Business Jobs Act, the STEP program has awarded $235.5 million in grants. These grants have directly aided more than 13,000 small businesses in expanding internationally and growing their exports. The SBA’s data shows that as states improve their export skills, the return on investment continues to improve as well. Last year, every dollar of STEP funding generated $43 in export sales.
Guzmán stated that with the new funds, small businesses will be able to become trade-ready, participate in trade shows in foreign markets, and grow through global e-commerce. The STEP Awards will help entrepreneurs offset costs related to export-related activities, such as foreign trade missions, international marketing campaigns, export trade fair exhibitions, and participation in training workshops.
The impact of the STEP program on small businesses has been significant and demonstrates the SBA’s unwavering support for their international growth. Claire Ehmann, the acting associate administrator for International Trade, highlighted the program’s success in leveling the playing field for small businesses looking to expand globally.
The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to empowering entrepreneurs and ensuring American small businesses can reach a global audience. Strengthening the base of small business exporters and improving their competitiveness on the international stage are key goals for the SBA’s small business strategy. This year’s awardees were selected through a highly competitive application process and the grants will be administered at the local level by state government organizations and non-profit entities.
Ehmann added that as STEP enters its second decade, the SBA will continue to modernize and promote this program to help more small businesses enter and expand into the international marketplace.