MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 4, 2016) — Small businesses across the country have access to $18.85 million in funding to help them enter and compete in the global marketplace with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 44 awards from the agency’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).
In Minnesota, the $155,736 award will support various small business exporting activities, including funding small businesses to attend foreign market sales trips and trade shows, translation of websites into foreign languages, design of international marketing products and more.
“Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power can be found outside of the United States, but only about one percent of America’s 28 million small businesses are reaching customers beyond our borders,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets.”
The purpose of the 2016 award is for Minnesota to assist small businesses with export-related activities or other export initiatives in line with the STEP program objectives, including 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.
“Our STEP program, as well as SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, ensure local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding Minnesota and its export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses in our state to build relationships and launch their services and products abroad,” said Nancy Libersky, SBA’s Minnesota district director.
Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion. The STEP program is designed to increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for those currently exporting. Nationwide, STEP award recipients in the first three rounds (FY 2011, 2012 and 2014; 2015 data not yet available) reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.
In total, Minnesota has received $2.1 million in STEP funding since FY 2011. This year’s funds in Minnesota will be used to offer exporting small businesses funding to attend foreign trade shows, specifically Arab Health, and for participation in foreign market sales trips. Minnesota will also assist in covering fees for U.S. Department of Commerce services, translation of websites into foreign languages, design of international marketing products or campaigns, and development of available export trade show exhibits.
Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the President’s National Export Initiative.