Ohio small businesses have access to $871,733 in funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to help them expand with exporting opportunities.
In all, SBA has awarded $19 million to 48 state and territory international trade agencies through its competitive STEP effort to support export growth among U.S. small businesses.
Here in Ohio, the STEP award will support the International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program, which is administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency.
“SBA’s STEP has been a critical resource for states to help their small businesses and entrepreneurs expand into international markets,” says Rob Scott, SBA Great Lakes regional administrator. “This is important because small businesses that export can grow revenue, contributing to a higher likelihood of them staying in business and strengthening local economies with job creation, especially in challenging times like this, as 95% of the world’s consumers are beyond U.S. borders.”
STEP is designed to assist Ohio with increasing the number of small businesses that export and the value of those exports. Since its creation in 2010 as part of the Small Business Jobs Act, STEP has recorded more than $3.8 billion in exports and awarded about $176 million in grants to fund export opportunities, increasing the footprint of U.S. small businesses worldwide. Ohio received about $7 million in STEP awards in the program’s 10 years.
“STEP and SBA’s other export resources, including SBA-backed loans and local U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help remove barriers to market entry for small businesses,” says Everett Woodel, SBA Columbus district director. “The SBA is delivering tools for small businesses in Ohio to diversify their customer base by offering their services and products abroad.”
The 2020 STEP awards will allow Ohio to assist small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities in line with the program objectives. These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips and services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits and training workshops
“Ohio products and services are sought throughout the world,” says Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “In 2019, Ohio companies had $53 billion worth of international sales. The IMAGE program, which is funded through the STEP award, is key to this success and continues to help Ohio small businesses compete in the global marketplace.”
For more information and to apply for funds, visit image.development.ohio.gov.image.development.ohio.gov.