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SBA announces second round of grants under STEP Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is inviting states and U.S. territories to apply for $30 million in grants that can be used in a variety of ways to help increase exporting by small businesses. SBA began accepting applications on March 27.

The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant initiative, launched under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, is a pilot grant program authorizing up to $90 million in grants to the states and U.S. territories over three years to help them increase the number of businesses that export, as well as the value of exports by small businesses.

In fiscal year 2011, the STEP program awarded 52 grants totaling $30 million. The average grant was for $577,000.

Each state, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa may submit a single application under the program each year. Activities authorized include participation in foreign trade missions and market sales trips, subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce, design of international marketing products and campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training, and other efforts aligned with program goals.

The STEP program announcement will be posted at The application period will be March 27 through May 17, 2012. Awards will be issued by Sept.30, 2012. See more information at

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