The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) helps increase the number of small businesses that export and increases export value for those already doing so. This program is made possible by grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration and administered at the state level.
STEP grants help businesses defray the cost to market internationally and assist with identifying and serving potential international buyers.
STEP usually takes the form of $3,000 to $5,000 grants that operate on a reimbursement basis for qualified small businesses. This means that successful applicants are reimbursed for eligible expenses when their project or activity has been completed.
In some cases, a 25% to 100% company match of the maximum reimbursement allowed is required for each activity funded through STEP.
STEP can support many projects that help you grow your exports. These include:
In most states, STEP can be used by companies that aim to export goods or services, both business-to-business (B2B) or direct to consumers (B2C).
Eligibility criteria vary between states. The first thing you should do is check the eligibility criteria in your state (see the “STEP Administrators” tab to find what organization administers the STEP grants in your state).
Usually, however, applicants must operate a business in their state that has been in business for more than a year, that qualifies as a small business entity, and that manufactures and/or distributes a product or provides an exportable service.
Below you will find a few questions that may help you determine if you fulfill the basic requirements for receiving STEP funds. This is not a guarantee of acceptance.
If you answer “yes” to all of the above questions, we invite you to schedule a complimentary call with our free government-funded grant expert to walk you through the application process.
First, look at our STEP-ready offers (in the STEP Offers tab) to find potential projects and partners that qualify for STEP.
Once you have identified a potential project that a STEP grant could power, contact the organization that serves as STEP administrator in your state.