Financial assistance available for small-business exporters
The Minnesota Trade Office is accepting applications for financial awards for small businesses that want to sell products or services in foreign markets.
The funding is available under the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP), which was created to help small businesses export and is funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
“The goal of STEP is to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports among those already selling internationally,” said Ed Dieter, acting executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. “This program will create opportunities for businesses that want to build revenue by entering foreign markets.”
Qualifying small businesses may apply for up to $7,500 in reimbursement for approved export-development activities, including the following: Participation in trade missions, exhibiting at trade shows or industry-specific events,
translation of marketing materials, development of foreign language websites, Gold Key or other business matchmaking services, company-specific international sales activities, testing and certification (such as CE marking) required to sell products in foreign markets. In addition, up to $500 in reimbursement is available for small businesses that want to participate in classes that will help them develop export plans.
Financial assistance will be available to eligible businesses until funding runs out. The application deadline is Oct. 30, for the first round of awards and Nov. 15, for a second round. Additional rounds will be each month until all funds are committed. Applications and other materials are available at www.tinyurl.com/STEPexportassistance.
Eligible companies must certify they meet the SBA definition of a small business, have been in business for one year, are profitable and understand the costs associated with exporting.
Further details are available from Jennifer Kocs at the Minnesota Trade Office, 651-259-7488, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.