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Vermont Receives $249,000 State Trade Expansion Program Award

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Funding is available to support small business export growth through reimbursement grants

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Agency of Commerce and Community Development has announced that it received a $249,000 exporting grant to assist small businesses in the state. The grant is awarded through the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), a federal-state partnership initiative to increase the number of small businesses exporting their products.

Vermont’s exports and imports accounted for approximately $5.8 billion in 2021, international trade accounts for 17 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Since 95 percent of the world's consumers and two-thirds of all purchasing power are located outside the United States, this grant program plays a critical role in providing access to capital, access to markets, and access to buyers.

“STEP has become a vital resource for Vermont small businesses,” said Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont District Director. “It assists small business reach every corner of the globe, but most importantly it opens the gate to Vermont’s largest trading partner, which is neighboring Canada. Vermont exported $830 million in goods to Canada in 2021 and STEP makes it a little easier for small businesses to access that vast market.”

The Department of Economic Development, a department of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, oversees and manages Vermont’s STEP grant. Eligible small businesses may apply for funds to offset the costs associated with entering or expanding into international markets. Expenses for activities related to participation in foreign trade missions, export training and compliance, and developing company websites and advertising campaigns to meet the international market may be eligible for reimbursements up to 75 percent.

“Receiving this STEP award at a time when in-person sales and travel activities are ramping back up allows us to continue to help Vermont businesses recover and grow,” said Joan Goldstein, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. “We are pleased to be able to deploy these funds to our small businesses once again and encourage eligible companies to consider incorporating STEP-approved export activities into their growth strategies.”

This marks the tenth year of STEP, which has awarded over $215 million to U.S. states and territories since the program was established in 2010. Vermont has received an award in each of the ten consecutive rounds of funding, totaling more than $2.5 million. Individual state award amounts vary based on proposed project plans and budgets. The SBA awarded $20 million in STEP grants to 52 states and territories in 2022.

The Vermont STEP grants are awarded on a rolling basis and businesses can apply now. For full details on eligibility and the application process, visit www.accd.vermont.gov/STEP.

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About the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is administered by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Department of Economic Development. It provides funding assistance to eligible Vermont businesses to support entry into foreign markets or expand international export activity through trade shows, trade missions, market research, and export education. For more information on STEP, visit https://accd.vermont.gov/STEP.

About the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s (ACCD) mission is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities. ACCD accomplishes this mission by providing grants, technical assistance, and advocacy through three divisions: The Department of Economic Development, the Department of Tourism and Marketing, and the Department of Housing and Community Development. For more information on ACCD please visit: https://accd.vermont.gov/.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. 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, 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.