Rapport International is a proud supporter of the STEP Grant program, which provides funds to encourage small businesses to expand into foreign markets. Applications are being accepted by the Massachusetts Export Center until September 30, 2019.
Information about the program and how to apply can be found at https://www.msbdc.org/export/step/.
MOITI, through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration ("SBA"), will provide grants to eligible Massachusetts small businesses for the purpose of increasing export sales of their goods and services.
About the Program
The program’s objectives are to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting, and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting.
STEP services are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade. At the state level, The Program has total Federal funding of $60,000,000, for use over a two-year period.
STEP was authorized by Section 1207 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Under the statute, the 50 states, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, are eligible to compete for award of matching-fund grants. The ratio of Federal to state matching funds is 75% to 25%, except for high exporting states, for which the ratio of Federal to state matching funds is 65% to 35%, and territorial possessions of the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, for which matching funds requirements are waived to a maximum of $200,000.
Under the first grant competition in 2011, SBA awarded fifty-one cooperative agreements, totaling $28,977,094. Under the second competition in 2012, the Agency awarded fifty-two cooperative agreements, totaling $29,996,182. Individual State project award amounts varied, based on proposed project plans and budgets. In the first grant competition, the average award value was $568,000. In the second grant competition, the average award value was $577,000.”
Business initiatives that are eligible for a STEP Grant include, but are not limited to:
The STEP Program is intended to help offset international business development and related marketing costs for small businesses. Grant proceeds may be used for specific international business development and marketing costs, including:
- Overseas trade show or conference exhibition and directly related expenses (e.g., booth space, shipping charges, carnets, attendance in conjunction with exhibiting, space to deliver technical sales seminars, etc.) (shipping costs capped at $2,000 per company);
- U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Key and other in-country services;
- Government-organized foreign trade missions with a business matchmaking element;
- Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market ($3,000 cap per company);
- Design of export market-specific marketing media (including design and translation of brochures, targeted advertising in industry-appropriate media, etc. — does not include printing) ($3,000 cap per company);
- Localization of websites for target export markets (including translation of websites, technical localization, and search engine optimization for export markets) ($3,000 cap per company).
Grant proceeds will not cover certain activities, including but not limited to: routine business operation and infrastructure-related expenses, domestic trade shows and conferences, travel expenses, staffing related costs, and more. Applications for vague or ineligible activities will be automatically disqualified.
Rapport International has worked with STEP Grant clients who have used grant proceeds to pay for translation of websites and product information. Read the case study to learn more, and contact Rapport International if you need guidance on how a STEP Grant could move your business forward into new markets.