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Small Businesses in Kansas Keeping An Eye On STEP Grants

Kansas Department of Commerce
Over a year ago, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a program called STEP, the State Trade and Export Program promotion. The program offered grants to each state to help small businesses increase exports. A total of $90 million was estimated to be disbursed across all 50 states over a period of three years. 

In the state of Kansas, the funds are administered through the Kansas Department of Commerce. The first round of funding was released last year by the Kansas Department of Commerce. The grant money totaled $500,000 and 24 Kansas small businesses received grants.  This year, the amount of funding Kansas received was $154,000.  The Department of Commerce has not yet decided who will be awarded grants.

In the first round of STEP funding, small businesses were able to apply for grants up to $20,000, or 75 percent of business expenses to increase their company's export business. This included the creation of translated web pages and marketing materials directed toward international customers, among other business endeavors. Since the STEP money received by the state of Kansas is considerably less than the amount received in the prior year, the Kansas Department of Commerce has not yet decided what will be required for this year's applicants and how the grant money will be dispersed.

Last year, small businesses applied online at the Kansas Department of Commerce in December. Many small businesses in Kansas are keeping their eye on the website this year in anticipation of news on when they can apply for this year's round of STEP grant money.

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