From U.S. Small Business Administration
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2016) — Kentucky has received a $467,000 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help small businesses find broader markets for their products and services. The grant is the fifth and largest amount received by the commonwealth in six years of participating in STEP.
“STEP funding is an important part of our efforts to help Kentucky’s small businesses thrive by marketing their goods and services outside the U.S. This $467,000 grant will give companies in our state additional opportunities, insight and experience to trade internationally,” Gov. Matt Bevin said. “We’re pleased to partner with the Small Business Administration as we work to bring even more Kentucky-made products and services to the global marketplace.”
The grant, designed to encourage and boost international trade among Kentucky’s small businesses, will help give small businesses the resources, connections and know-how necessary to start exporting. As well, it will increase the volume of exports for Kentucky companies already in the international marketplace. By creating and cultivating demand for Kentucky-made products and services internationally, STEP helps businesses grow, invest and create jobs across the state.
STEP grants lower the cost for small businesses to participate in international trade missions, sales trips and subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additionally, the funds assist companies with international market research, export trade show exhibit costs, training workshops, travel expenses, translation services and product compliance testing.
STEP aligns directly with the goals of the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI). Through KEI, the Cabinet for Economic Development partners with a coalition of agencies and organizations. KEI streamlines and elevates the state’s efforts to help Kentucky businesses reach global markets.
With a 3.6 percent increase in exports this year through June, compared with the same period last year, the commonwealth’s growth in exports rank it among the nation’s leaders. Through June, Kentucky businesses shipped $14.6 billion in products and services to nearly 200 countries. Kentucky exports rose while the nation’s exports as a whole decreased 6.4 percent from the first six months of 2015.