Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, applauded today the announcement by the U.S. Small Business Administration that it is providing $30 million in grants to states, including more than $2.5 million to California, to help increase exporting by small businesses during the next 12 months. The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, under the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP).
"This is exactly what we should be doing with our federal dollars during these tough economic times; using them to stimulate small business investment and helping these entrepreneurs to sell their products overseas," said Rep. Chu. "With the closing of the California state trade office in recent years, it is more important now than ever before for the federal government to step in and provide all the resources necessary for our state's businesses to compete and succeed in the growing global trade market."
The STEP program, launched in March, aligns with President Obama's National Export Initiative. The President's initiative calls for doubling U.S. exports in five years -- and in so doing, supporting two million jobs. The program provides federal government funding for 65 to75 percent of program costs, with states supplying the remainder.
The $2.5 million in grants to California will be coordinated through Gov. Jerry Brown's office and will be used to conduct 20 export promotion activities including domestic and market-focused advertising campaigns, customized product/promotion localization assistance, matchmaking services connecting small businesses to potential customers, and follow up support to assist firms in closing deals.
Forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands received STEP grants.
The funding will support participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscriptions to services provided by the Department of Commerce, website translations fees, design of international marketing media, trade show exhibitions, participation in training workshops, and other critical export initiatives.
Small businesses that want to receive assistance under the STEP program should contact the organizations serving the states in which they are located. For a list of these organizations and more information about the STEP program, visit http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2889/resources/14315.
The SBA anticipates it will conduct a new competition for STEP program grants during the winter of 2011. Awards will be made in September 2012 for export support services by states over the following 12 months.