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US Small Business Association STEP Grant Initiative

SBA_logoAs published on the US Small Business Association’s website:

“The State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program (STEP) is a 3-year pilot trade and export initiative to make matching-fund grants for states to assist “eligible small business concerns,” enter and succeed in the international marketplace. Services under the STEP Program are funded in part by SBA, but are provided to eligible small business concerns – or “STEP Clients” - by STEP grant recipients located in most states and territories, and the District of Columbia.

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.

Program Facts

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.”

Want to DISCOVER TREASURE?  Download the Exporter Resource Guide to learn how!

Business initiatives that are eligible for a STEP Grant include, but are not limited to:

  • International business development and related marketing

  • Overseas trade show or conference exhibition and directly related expenses

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Key and other in-country services

  • Government-organized foreign trade missions with a business matchmaking element

  • Direct international regulatory or standards compliance costs

  • TRANSLATION of websites or marketing materials and targeted advertising in overseas industry trade publications; foreign wire service subscriptions

For a list of contacts by state visit the SBA Website.


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.

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Categories: Project Planning & Management, Cost & Turnaround, Multilingual Growth

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