New export assistance funds are available for Michigan’s small businesses via the largest State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) award in the nation.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) revealed a seventh year of financial support to Michigan small and medium-sized business for export-related activities through the MEDC International Trade Program.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded Michigan the highest available State STEP grant of $800,000 for the 2019 fiscal year. On top of that, the Michigan Strategic Fund is providing $266,666 to support the Michigan STEP initiative (M-STEP), which is designed to spur job creating by empowering Michigan eligible small-business concerns to export their products.
“The Michigan International Trade Program has developed a wide array of public and private resources to increase the number of small-business exporters in Michigan,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This STEP award will allow the International Trade Program to continue to dramatically increase export outcomes.”
MEDC has been involved in STEP since 2011; and the fiscal year 2019 grant supports export development for eligible small-business concerns through financial assistance awards, trade missions, international sales trips and trade shows along with export legal trainings.
The plan for MI-STEP is to support 226 eligible small-business concerns with expected export sales totaling $113.3 million.
“The SBA STEP awards will support various small-business exporting activities, including training in exporting and foreign market entry, backing small-business participation in foreign trade shows and helping small businesses develop international marketing products in Michigan,” said Constance Logan, SBA Michigan District Office director.
Logan also stated that her office looks forward to working with the MEDC to continue helping small business meet exporting initiatives with the awards.
The MEDC’s export plan was developed in cooperation with strategic Michigan export service providers like the U.S. Department of Commerce, Michigan Small Business Administration, Michigan Small Business Development Center, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan State University International Business Center, Automation Alley, Van Andel Global Trade Center, Networks Northwest, East and West Michigan District Export Councils, and state and local service providers.
For more details, visit michiganbusiness.org.