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STEP Program Will Award $17.4 Million in Grants to Small Business Owners

STEP Program Will Award $17.4 Million in Grants to Small Business Owners
In 2010, the Small Business Jobs Act was signed into law by President Obama. It was designed to help small business owners by creating more lending sources, tax breaks and other resources to help them grow and create more jobs. This included the STEP program, or State Trade and Export Promotion program, that gives grants to small businesses wanting to expand their business into foreign markets. That STEP program is about to award $17.4 million to small businesses in 40 states.

What the grants will fund

In order for small businesses to get into international markets, they must invest in activities such as trade shows and international marketing campaigns. The STEP program works by providing both federal and state funding; 75 percent comes from the federal government, and the remaining 25 percent comes from the state. A total of 40 states have eligible small businesses who will receive STEP funding.

The grants range from $190,000 up to $750,000 each. The states that received the most funding included Hawaii, Michigan, California, Washington, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Funding through the STEP program will enable small business owners to take the steps necessary in order to export abroad.

The importance of export sales

Small businesses who enter foreign markets can boost their sales potential and make an impact on the U.S. economy. Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration, explains it this way, “If we don’t get in the game, we know other countries will eat our lunch.”

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