State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grants are still available to small- and medium-sized companies looking to enter and develop markets overseas. The grant money is part of $276,741 awarded last year by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help increase export sales and ultimately create jobs for more Delawareans.
The SBA’s STEP Program makes matching-fund awards to states assist small businesses enter and succeed in the international marketplace. STEP grants are used to directly reimburse Delaware companies for up to 50 percent of all pre-approved, eligible export marketing expenses, up to a maximum of $5,000 per fiscal year per company. Eligible activities include international travel, trade show activities, international marketing materials and overseas interpreters.
The deadline for Delaware businesses to spend their grant award is September 30.
“We’ve had many companies take advantage of STEP funding to finance their international activities, from attending trade shows in Europe to working with Global Delaware’s trade representatives to traveling around the world to meet with prospective clients. The grants have helped Delaware-based businesses generate millions in export sales,” says Beth Pomper, International Trade Advisor for Global Delaware, which administers the grants. “We are urging other companies to do the same. High participation helps to strengthen the local business community and also ensures that we receive additional funding next year from the SBA.”
Local businessman Julio da Ponte has used STEP grants to finance trips to China and Singapore to meet with customers. “When trying to grow business, developing and cultivating personal relationships is really key, and we can’t do that without travelling,” the VP of Industrial Valves & Fittings says. “The travel can get quite expensive, and the STEP grant is one of the ways that we’ve been able to make it happen.”
“Delaware companies must look abroad if they are to successfully grow their operations, and we can provide the support and resources needed to make that happen,” notes Andrea Tinianow, director of Global Delaware. “The application process is straightforward, the funding is available, and we are ready to help.”
Companies interested in applying for a STEP grant should contact mailto:email@example.com to fill out an application. Further information is available at http://global.delaware.gov/expand/strategies-growth/access-to-capital.shtml