The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant has been awarded to Vermont by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support Vermont businesses to engage internationally through trade missions, trade shows, and trade education. The SBA and STEP’s objective is to increase the overall number of U.S. small business exporters and to increase their export sales.
The Vermont STEP focus is on relationship development and export planning—helping businesses diversify to include global markets benefits companies and their employees alike. Eligible businesses can apply to receive reimbursements for approved expenditures including:
- Registration fees and booth space at trade shows and missions that reach an international audience;
- Individual export activities such as:
- Participation in foreign trade missions or sales trips;
- Website translation into foreign languages, search engine optimization, and localization services capped at $3,000 per award year;
- Development of trade show exhibits and marketing materials;
- Fees for shipping sample products, capped at $2,000 per award year;
- Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market, capped at $2,000 per award year;
- Export research tool subscription used to assist with market research, capped at $1,000 per award year;
- Participation in ExporTech, an immersive training program designed to build your go-to-market plan;
- Other specific trainings and resources for export activities.
To be eligible for STEP funding, Vermont businesses must meet criteria set forth by the SBA that define eligible small businesses concerns (ESBC):
- Organized or incorporated in the United States;
- Operating and registered in Vermont;
- Qualifies as a small business based on the SBA’s size standards found here: https://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/contracting/contracting-officials//small-business-size-standards;
- Has been in business for not less than 1 year, as of the date on which assistance using the grant commences; and
- Has access to sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers;
- Certifies that this is an export-ready U.S. company seeking to export goods or services of U.S. origin or have at least 51% U.S. content.
“Funded in part through a grant with the US Small Business Administration”