The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded the state Department of Economic and Community Development $290,000 to support exporting among the state's small businesses.

The award was part of $18 million in funding the SBA allocated to 44 state international trade agencies through the its competitive State Trade Expansion Program.

STEP is designed to increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting.

Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the SBA’s small business strategy.

“The awards will provide a solid foundation for small businesses planning to enter [exporting] and set them up for success,” says SBA Administrator Linda McMahon.

Exporting in Connecticut

According to CBIA's 2017 International Trade Survey of Connecticut Businesses, Connecticut companies exported $14.4 billion in goods and services in 2016, or 1.5% of total U.S. exports.

Since CBIA's first international trade survey in 2007, the number of Connecticut companies engaging in exporting has risen sharply—from 53% to 77% over a 10-year period.

The largest foreign markets for Connecticut exporters are North America (73%), Western Europe (63%), and Northern Asia and the Pacific Rim—China, Japan, and Taiwan (51%).

Funding Objectives

The 2017 STEP awards will allow states to assist small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities that are in line with the objectives of the program.

These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops, and more.

STEP awards are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade