Fact Sheet: State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program

Source:  Maura Little, Community Liaison, Congressman Jay Inslee, 18560 1st Avenue NE, Suite E-800, Shoreline, WA  98155-2150, 206-361-0233, 206-361-3959 (fax),  Maura.Little@mail.house.gov.

The State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP) is a 3-year pilot trade and export initiative authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Funded by federal grants and matching funds from the states, the STEP Program is designed to help increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting so they can grow and create jobs.

How STEP Grants Will Help Small businesses:

The STEP grants will help provide:

  • support for small business participation in foreign trade missions and foreign market sales trips;
  • subscription to services by the Department of Commerce;
  • website translation fees;
  • design of international marketing media;
  • trade show exhibitions;
  • participation in training workshops; and
  • other export initiatives determined to be appropriate by the SBA.


All 50 states, Washington D.C. and U.S. Territories were invited to apply for STEP grant awards.

Forty-seven states, Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands won a STEP grant award. All states and territories that submitted their applications on time received STEP grants.

Through the STEP grants, SBA awarded approximately $30 million, supporting $43.4 million in total projects costs.  SBA is authorized to grant up to $30 million to states each year under the program.

For more information, visit the STEP web page at: http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2889/resources/14315

  •  Alaska ($330,000 allocated):  The project will focus on seafood, wood products, and mineral export sectors. Activities will include trade missions and trade shows, marketing opportunities and mentorships, and translation services. Target markets include Japan, China, South Korea, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, and Belgium.
  • Idaho ($292,000): The program will award grants to small businesses to generate export sales opportunities, encourage participation in trade missions, and help companies explore new markets. It will support travel to trade missions, trade shows, and matchmaking events; participation in seminars and educational events; translation of marketing materials; and market research.
  • Oregon $375,000): The project will subsidize small business participation in international trade shows, trade missions, and reverse trade missions.  It will arrange exhibit space, support use of U.S. Department of Commerce services; provide market research and agent/distributor search; and facilitate meetings and introductions in Japan, China, Korea, and the European Union.
  • Washington ($1,591,919):  The project provides an integrated strategy of new activities to increase exports, focusing on new-to-market opportunities in China. It will target significant assistance to rural small businesses, and support small business participation in trade shows and missions, translation of marketing materials, and international certification for products.