Small Businesses Eligible for Federal Grant for Trade and Export Initiative

California has received a grant from the federal government to help small businesses boost trade and exports abroad, according to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO).

GO-Biz and the CCCCO will use the $844,214  to help small businesses gain access to foreign markets through trade promotion initiatives, participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription 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.

The grant is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), which awarded grants to 44 states and territories to support activities to increase exports by U.S. small businesses.

“Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power can be found outside of the United States, but only about one percent of America’s 28 million small businesses are reaching customers beyond our borders,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA head and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, when announcing the grant award earlier this month in Washington D.C.

“Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets. These STEP awards, in addition to SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help small businesses across our nation have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global,” Contreras-Sweet said.

STEP awards were created to advance key priorities identified in the President’s National Export Initiative, namely to expand the base of small businesses that become exporters and to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small businesses.

California has received STEP funding in previous years, and this is the second year GO-Biz and the CCCCO will jointly administer the program. GO-Biz and the CCCCO will work with other partners, including the California Community Colleges Centers for International Trade Development (CITD) at the Riverside Community College District, Rancho Santiago Community College District, State Center Community College District, the Los Rios Community College District, and San Mateo Community College District, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce in providing grants to qualifying small businesses and trade promotion programs.

Visit the California STEP Program or SBA’s STEP program and the fiscal year 2016 awardees for more information.

Susanne T. Stirling
Susanne T. Stirling, senior vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. See full bio.