Fed funds help small businesses

Grants available for international trade

Staff report

COLUMBUS — Small businesses across the country have access to $18 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 Ohio, the $700,000 award will support various small business exporting activities, including international trade show participation, domestic trade show, trade missions, website development, international advertising and marketing material translation, and designated training programs by offering a 50 percent reimbursement-based grant.

“The awards will provide a solid foundation for small businesses planning to enter and set them up for success,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon.

The purpose of the 2017 STEP award is for Ohio to assist small businesses with export-related activities in line with the STEP 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.

“Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses and entrepreneurs ready to expand their reach. By funding Ohio and its international trade agency, the SBA is delivering the necessary tools for small businesses in our state to build relationships and launch their services and products abroad,” said Rick Garcia, SBA’s Columbus district director.

Nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries. Helping to unlock trade opportunities in progressively more borderless global markets, STEP is designed to help small businesses tap this potential by increasing the number that begin to export and the value of exports for those currently exporting. In total, Ohio has received more than $4.9 million in STEP funding since FY 2011.

STEP funds complement the SBA’s export loan guaranty programs and U.S. Export Assistance Centers. The export loans can finance working capital needed to complete export orders and in turn help finance the expansion of production facilities due to export success. Loans are available up to $5 million. The USEACs offer guidance and local resources to help small businesses tap global markets.

The STEP awards are managed and provided at the local level via state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the SBA’s Office of International Trade.

Grants available for international trade

Staff report