COLUMBUS – Ohio small businesses have access to $457,780 in funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to help them identify exporting opportunities. In all, the SBA has awarded $18 million to 41 state and territory international trade agencies through its competitive STEP effort to support export growth among U.S. small businesses. Here in Ohio, the STEP award will support various small business exporting activities to help make “Made in Ohio” more internationally known.
“STEP is one of SBA’s important resources for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs to expand into international markets and a key component of our agency’s small business support strategy,” SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “With a majority of the world’s purchasing power outside of the United States, small businesses that export can grow revenue, contributing to a higher likelihood of them staying in business, and boost local economies.”
Today, trade represents nearly 58% of the world’s $80 trillion economy and 95% of the world’s consumers are outside the United States. STEP is designed to assist Ohio with increasing the number of small businesses that export and the value of those exports. Since the program began in 2011, the state has received approximately $6.1 million in STEP funding. In total, approximately $157 million in grants have been awarded to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.
The Ohio Development Services Agency uses the STEP funding to administer its International Market Access Grant for Exporters, or IMAGE.
“Exporting is vital to the Ohio economy, with nearly $55 billion worth of international sales by Ohio companies in 2018,” said Lydia L. Mihalik, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “IMAGE, which is funded through the STEP award, is key to helping small businesses compete in the global marketplace.”
The 2019 STEP awards will allow states to assist small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities in line with the program objectives. These objectives include participation in 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.
The Development Services Agency is now accepting applications for IMAGE awards. To learn more and to apply, go to IMAGE.development.ohio.gov.
Individual STEP awards are managed at the local level by state government organizations. The SBA’s Office of International Trade administers the STEP awards at the national level.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
About the Ohio Development Services Agency
The Ohio Development Services Agency leads state economic development through programs and services that assist businesses, communities and individuals. The agency oversees the awarding of state and federal incentives, manages projects and programs that receive state and federal funding as well as marketing the State of Ohio through the Governor’s Office of Appalachia and TourismOhio. To learn more, visit development.ohio.gov.