Dear Chairman Crenshaw and Ranking Member Serrano:
As you begin to develop the Financial Services and General Government appropriation bill for Fiscal Year 2015, we respectfully urge you to include sufficient funding for the Small Business Export Trade Promotion (STEP) program. The STEP program is a pilot program that was authorized in 2010 (P.L. 111-240) and has produced impressive results. Due to its success, in 2013, the National Governor's Association urged Congress to continue its funding and authorization.
The program's objectives are to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting, and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting. All 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories qualify to apply for STEP grant awards. In the first two years of the program, 3,737 small businesses were assisted through the program. Many states have effectively leveraged program resources resulting in a return on investment for the majority of states of $10 to $1. In fact, six states had a return of investment of $20 to $1.
The STEP program helps our small businesses and our communities and we respectfully urge this Committee to allocate sufficient funding to this important program.