The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has recently allocated $20 million in grants to support small business international trade. These grants will benefit 49 state and territory international trade agencies across the nation through the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). This initiative by the Biden-Harris Administration aims to empower small businesses to promote their offerings in the global marketplace and level the playing field for entrepreneurs.
Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, who leads the SBA and represents the interests of America’s 33 million small businesses, emphasized the value of the STEP program. Guzman stated that the program has served as a vital collaboration between the federal government and states for over a decade, providing funds directly to small businesses eager to explore international trade opportunities. She highlighted the funds’ potential to equip businesses for international trade, support participation in global trade shows, and facilitate expansion through global e-commerce.
Since its inception in 2010, the STEP program has disbursed $235.5 million in grants, fueling the international growth and export activities of over 13,000 small businesses. The program has demonstrated its effectiveness, with an impressive return on investment: $43 in export sales generated for every dollar of STEP funding last year.
Claire Ehmann, the Acting Associate Administrator for International Trade, emphasized the impact of the STEP program. She acknowledged the SBA’s unwavering support for U.S. small businesses looking to expand their international footprint. As the program progresses into its second decade, the SBA will continue to modernize and promote this signature initiative, assisting small businesses in entering and expanding into the international marketplace.
For small business owners, STEP grants can be a valuable resource to offset the costs associated with export-related activities. These activities include international marketing campaigns, foreign trade missions, training workshops, and participation in export-oriented trade exhibits.
Aligned with the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration, the SBA’s strategy is clear: strengthen the foundation of small business exporters and enhance their international competitiveness. These strategic actions create an environment conducive to the success of America’s small businesses on the global stage.
To find out if their state or territory has received an award and explore funding opportunities, entrepreneurs can visit www.sba.gov/STEP. Additionally, local SBA Resource Partners are available to provide guidance and counseling to help businesses navigate their export strategies.
The recent announcement from the SBA signifies more than just funding; it reflects a steadfast commitment to propelling small businesses to new heights in the global market. As international trade continues to evolve, small business owners can remain optimistic due to initiatives like the STEP program.