2016 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) award supports small business export growth across state
Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced this week that the State of Colorado has been awarded $186,140 through the agency's competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to support export growth among Colorado small businesses.
Contreras-Sweet heralded the news as a boon for Colorado small businesses: "Two-thirds of the world's purchasing power resides outside the U.S. That makes exporting an important growth opportunity for Colorado small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets. These STEP awards in addition to SBA's export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, small businesses in Colorado have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global."
STEP awards were created to advance key priorities laid out in the President's National Export Initiative, namely to expand the base of small businesses that become exporters and to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small businesses. These awards are granted to U.S. states and territories to support programs that help small businesses expand their export-related activities. This includes participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services for access to international markets, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, export training workshops and more.
These awards are designed to increase both the number of U.S. small businesses that start exporting and the overall value of U.S. small business exports. Recipients of STEP awards in the first three rounds (FY 2011, 2012, 2014) reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.