Head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, has announced an $18 million funding opportunity to support export growth among U.S. small businesses. The funding opportunity will be awarded through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).
States interested in putting in proposals should go to Grants.gov and download the funding opportunity announcement.
The deadline for proposals is June 10.
STEP awards were created to advance key priorities identified in the President’s National Export Initiative, namely to expand the base of small businesses that become exporters and to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small businesses.
STEP funds allow small businesses the opportunity to meet foreign buyers face-to-face at trade shows or on trade missions, and complement SBA’s export loan guaranty programs, which can finance the working capital needed to complete export orders and help finance the expansion of production facilities due to export success. Loans are available up to $5 million. More information can be obtained from SBA’s Export Finance Managers located at 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the country.
“The State of Florida was awarded one of the 24 STEP grants from the SBA in 2014. Access to this funding source and state-level funding helped our small businesses seek growth opportunities for competing on a global scale,” South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero, said.
Recipients of STEP awards in the first three rounds (FY 2011, 2012, 2014) reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.