U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, announced several days ago that she had secured an $850,000 grant for Louisiana from the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program.
The pilot program, passed by Congress as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, seeks to increase exports by small businesses by providing funding to states to start or enhance export assistance programs. This opportunity could help spur the export of clean technologies being developed in Louisiana.
Since its founding, Louisiana has been a hub for trade and entrepreneurship. “With over 40 ports and an extensive rail system, Louisiana has long been a top destination for companies seeking to export their goods and services. Through the STEP program, exports and those small businesses new to exporting will get specified training and export counseling to make the best use of our state’s gateway to the world, creating jobs and rebuilding our economy.”
States will use STEP funding to start or expand small business export assistance programs and to reduce the cost of a number of start-up activities associated with exporting including, attendance at trade shows, participation in foreign trade missions, the translation of websites into foreign languages, and the purchase of services from the Department of Commerce.
According to the SBA, the STEP grants will help provide:
- support for small business participation in foreign trade missions and foreign market sales trips;
- subscription to services by the Department of Commerce;
- website translation fees;
- design of international marketing media;
- trade show exhibitions;
- participation in training workshops; and
- other export initiatives determined to be appropriate by the SBA.
Louisiana will use the funding to identify, qualify, train, prepare and assist small businesses to increase export readiness and expand exports. Firms will receive company-tailored and market-specific individual export preparation counseling for participation in trade missions, reverse trade missions, and domestic and international trade shows and exhibitions, according to the SBA. You can find out more about the program here.