FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 7, 2016) – Gov. Matt Bevin announced a $467,000 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant today for Kentucky from the U.S. Small Business Administration saying it will help the Commonwealth’s small businesses find broader markets for their products and services.
“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. 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.
The grant is the fifth and largest amount received by the Commonwealth in six years of participating in STEP.
“STEP has been instrumental in the growth and success of small businesses throughout Kentucky over the past half-dozen years,” said Erik Dunnigan, acting secretary for the Cabinet for Economic Development. “The state has received more than $1.4 million in STEP grants since 2011 and that funding has allowed companies to reach markets that may have otherwise been unattainable. This grant will both advance that work and ensure Kentucky’s reputation continues to grow as a source of world-class goods and services.”
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.
The Cabinet manages STEP for Kentucky and previously received a $400,000 grant in 2015; a $300,000 grant in 2014; a $276,000 grant in 2012; and a $427,000 grant in 2011.
STEP aligns directly with the goals 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.
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.
To learn more about the STEP program and apply, visit http://bit.ly/STEPfaq. Find out more about Kentucky’s exporting efforts at www.KyExports.com.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.