Applications are now open for more than $500,000 in funding through the State Trade and Export Promotion Grants Program (STEP), the Kansas Departments of Commerce and Agriculture have announced.
The funding, which is provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), was first announced in September. The grant is focused on encouraging businesses to explore export markets.
Much of the money will be made available through the state's International Market Development Grant (IMDGP) program that will provide funding assistance for Kansas businesses as they explore overseas markets. Eligible expenses funded under the IMDGP may include trade shows, trade missions, translation of website or marketing materials, conferences and seminars and other export-related activities.
The grant will also fund state-led international trade missions where Kansans will host booths at trade shows and one-on-one meetings. The Department Commerce, for example, will exhibit at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show in England. Both the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture are planning mission activity to China. Additionally, agriculture-specific missions are scheduled for India, Russia, Germany and Costa Rica next year. Department of Agriculture staff will coordinate these missions, including Kansas producers, agribusinesses and agriculture organizations to assist in developing the business connections needed to continue a trade relationship with foreign buyers.
Finally, the grant will enable Kansas to develop and enhance training programs and workshops to assist Kansas small businesses in exporting and marketing their products and services globally.
"Kansas businesses exported close to $10 billion in products and services last year, and I expect that amount will be higher this year," Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. "This grant will be a key driver in helping businesses start or expand their international trade opportunities."
"Agriculture is the largest industry in the state of Kansas with more than $2.7 billion in agriculture exports in 2010," Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman said. "These trade missions are an opportunity to grow international markets for Kansas agriculture products."
To apply for Commerce STEP funding, go to www.KansasCommerce.com/TradeDevelopment or call 785-296-3737. To apply for Agriculture STEP funding, go to www.ksda.gov/marketing/?cid=1869 or call J.J. Jones at 785-296-3737.