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SBA Boosts Michigan’s Small Business Export Opportunities with $820,000 STEP Award

SBA Boosts Michigan’s Small Business Export Opportunities with $820,000 STEP Award

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Nationally, $18.85 Million Set to Promote Small Business Global Trade
DETROIT – Small businesses across the country have access to $18.85 million in funding to help them enter and compete in the global marketplace with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 44 awards from the agency’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

In Michigan, the $820,000 award will support counseling services offered through the State and the U.S. Department of Commerce, and for foreign market sales trips. Missions will be conducted to Poland, Romania, China, Mexico, Indonesia/Vietnam, and a governor-led mission to India. A Michigan pavilion or booth will be available at Arab Health (UAE), Queretaro (Mexico), and the Paris Airshow. STEP funds will also be available for customized market research and training sessions, as well as individual foreign market sales trips.

“Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power can be found outside of the United States, but only about one percent of America’s 28 million small businesses are reaching customers beyond our borders,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets.”

The purpose of the 2016 award is for Michigan to assist small businesses with export-related activities or other export initiatives in line with the STEP program objectives, including participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

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“Our STEP program, as well as SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, ensure local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding Michigan and its export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses in our state to build relationships and launch their services and products abroad,” said Dottie Overal, SBA’s Michigan acting district director.

Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion. The STEP program is designed to increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for those currently exporting. Nationwide, STEP award recipients in the first three rounds (FY 2011, 2012 and 2014; 2015 data not yet available) reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded. In total, Michigan has received more than $5.7 million in STEP funding since FY 2011.
Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the President’s National Export Initiative.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012, has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

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