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Funds available for small businesses looking to expand internationally

State received $467,000 in STEP funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 11, 2017) — Funds are still available through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) for Kentucky small businesses looking to begin or grow their international sales.

STEP grants, administered by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and awarded by the US Small Business Administration, reimburse up to $5,000 in expenses of small businesses as they seek foreign trade opportunities.

Kentucky received $467,000 in STEP funding for the program’s fifth year, which ends Sept. 29. Of that, $155,000 remains to support up to 31 eligible small businesses.

STEP grants are designed to provide companies with the resources, connections and knowledge necessary for exporting. STEP also works to increase the volume of exports for Kentucky companies already in the international marketplace. The creation and cultivation of international demand for Kentucky-made products and services leads to business growth, investment and job creation across the state.

Allowable STEP grant expenses include:

  • Airfare
  • Meals and lodging
  • Parking, baggage and currency exchange fees
  • Ground transportation
  • Shipping fees for product samples to international prospects
  • Trade show registration fees, booth space and mission fees
  • The Gold Key Matching Service
  • Export training
  • Stipends for website translations into foreign languages
  • Meeting space audio and visual
  • Compliance

STEP is a component of the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI). Through KEI, the cabinet partners with a coalition of agencies and organizations. KEI streamlines and elevates the state’s efforts to help Kentucky businesses reach global markets.

Following a record year for exports in 2016, the commonwealth’s export growth ranks it among the nation’s leaders. Last year, Kentucky businesses shipped $29.24 billion in products and services to nearly 200 countries. Kentucky exports rose while the nation’s exports as a whole decreased 3.2 percent from 2015.

STEP uses the SBA’s small business size standards to determine eligibility. Those can be found at http://bit.ly/SBAstandards. To learn more about STEP and to apply, visit http://bit.ly/STEPfaq. Find out more about Kentucky’s exporting efforts at www.KyExports.com.