082615-business-pix-1SBA Boosts Wisconsin’s Small Business Export Opportunities with $712,000 STEP Program Award

Milwaukee, Wisc. – Small Business  across the country have access to $17.4 million in funding to help them enter and compete in the global marketplace with the Small Business Administration’s 40 awards from the agency’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. In Wisconsin, the $712,000 award will support various small business exporting activities, including trade missions to Vietnam and China; United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia; Mexico; Canada; and South Korea.

“Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18 percent more. Yet less than one percent of small business export; and of those that do, 58 percent of them export to only one country,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the U.S., SBA’s STEP program ensures that America’s small businesses can succeed in the 21st century global economy.”

The purpose of the 2015 award is for Wisconsin 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.

“Our STEP program ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding Wisconsin and its export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses to launch their services and products abroad,” said Eric Ness, SBA’s Wisconsin district director.

Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion and 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, recipients in the first two rounds of step awards provided in FY 2011 and FY 2012, reported a strong return on investment of more than 19:1. In total, Wisconsin has received more than $1.5 million in STEP awards since FY 2011.

Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s National Export