When it comes to getting money from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Michigan is three-for-three.
For the third straight year, Michigan got the largest award in the country from the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program for fiscal 2020.
Michigan, which has gotten money from the fund in nine straight years, received the maximum amount of $900,000, up $100,000 from 2019. The Michigan Strategic Fund is adding another $300,000 to support the Michigan STEP initiative.
MI-STEP is designed to spur job creation by empowering Michigan “eligible small business concerns,” or ESBCs, to export their products. The program has three primary objectives: increase the number of Michigan small businesses that export, increase the dollar value of Michigan exports, and increase the number of Michigan small businesses exploring significant new trade opportunities, including expansion of existing export markets.
Diversifying the base
“Export sales help diversify companies’ customer bases, provide longer term stability and can support higher paying jobs,” said MEDC CEO Jeff Mason. “This year’s STEP grant is once again the largest award in the nation, reflecting the Small Business Administration’s strong confidence in Michigan’s successful execution of export promotion to increase international sales.”
The fiscal year 2020 award supports export development for ESBCs through financial assistance grants for trade missions, international sales trips, and trade shows along with website translation, localization, and search engine optimization.
Financial assistance grants will also support regionally based ExporTech trainings with the U.S. Commercial Service in Marquette, Saginaw, Detroit and Lansing. MI-STEP is expected to support 224 ESBCs, with anticipated export sales totaling $128.1 million.
MEDC has participated in STEP since 2011. Since then, the program has facilitated more than $3 billion in export sales through federal and non-federally funded programs. In fiscal year 2018, export sales generated a total of $641.5 million.
More than 300 companies received assistance through Michigan’s export grant programs, with 560 fully executed grants and 100% of funds disbursed directly to companies.
The MEDC’s export plan was developed and executed through collaboration with strategic Michigan export service providers including the U.S. Department of Commerce, Michigan Small Business Administration, Michigan Small Business Development Center, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, MSU International Business Center, Automation Alley, Van Andel Global Trade Center, Networks Northwest and East & West Michigan District Export Councils, along with other state and local service providers.
Applications for fiscal year 2020 MI-STEP grants are now open to ESBCs. For complete details on how companies can apply for assistance, including eligibility requirements and the application process, please visit www.michiganbusiness.org/services/international-trade or contact an International Trade Manager.