State business agency wins new export assistance grant

Federal STEP award aimed at boosting help for to small businesses

The NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs has received a $267,866 grant through the federal State Trade Export Promotion, or STEP, program — a 25 percent increase over last year’s award. The grant, awarded through the U.S. Small Business Administration, enables states to help small businesses enter the international marketplace.

The SBA recently awarded $18 million in STEP grants to 44 state and territory economic agencies. Created in 2010, the STEP program is designed to increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and increase the value of exports that small businesses currently export.

The 2017 awards will enable states to assist small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export related activities such as foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, 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.

In New Hampshire, the STEP award will help the state Office of International Commerce administer programs through a public-private partnership with the Granite State District Export Council and the private sector NH Export Expansion Fund. The Office of International Commerce will also investigate trade shows that could be of interest to New Hampshire businesses to attend.

Since 2010, the program has supported more than $1.1 billion in American small business exports, yielding a return on investment of 19-1 for taxpayers said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, who helped create and extend the program through 2020.

Prior to the grant award, BEA announced it is holding a series of exporting seminars, starting Oct. 4, to advise businesses interested in selling abroad.

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