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Two Funding Options for Export Expansion

The North Dakota Trade Office has two new funding opportunities for exporters that began earlier this week. This year’s State Trade Expansion Program North Dakota (STEP ND 2018) has $247,614 available for small business exporters traveling abroad on sales trips and completing marketing and research activities. The Specialty Crop Program 2018 has $48,995 available for specialty crop exporters to attend individual sales trips to expand their exports of beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and more. The programs began September 30 and October 1, respectively, and are now accepting applications for funding.

STEP ND 2018

STEP ND 2018 allows companies to be reimbursed for up to 75% of expenses for five activities with a maximum total reimbursement of $25,000. Reimbursement per activity is based on the strength of the application, with an average reimbursement around $3,000. The goal of STEP is to explore or expand international business opportunities for ‘eligible small business concerns.’

Activities and expenses included within STEP ND 2018 are:

  • Foreign sales trip and trade missions
    • Airfare
    • Lodging at federal rates
    • Meals at federal per diem rates
    • Trade show booth
    • Trade Mission fees
    • Shipping of sample materials
    • Services provided by the U.S. Commercial Service (e.g. Gold Key service)
  • ExporTech
  • RAISE Program (research provided by NDDEC and USCS Fargo office)
  • Marketing media
    • Website translation
    • Marketing materials translation
    • Costs associated with foreign language brochures, websites, social media platforms, billboards, branding and advertising, and other preapproved media

Participation in STEP ND 2018 requires that companies provide their sales information as a result of STEP activities on a quarterly basis for up to one (1) year after the grant period, which is September 30, 2018 – December 31, 2019. Sales information is reported in aggregate to the SBA.

Applications are available at http://ndto.com/step-nd/application-forms/.

Specialty Crop Program 2018

NDTO’s Specialty Crop Program 2018 focuses on expanding the Upper Midwest’s exports of specialty crops, as defined by USDA here. This grant uses funds provided by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program and is administered by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

The Specialty Crop Program reimburses companies for travel expenses incurred on sales trips to foreign markets. Eligible trips must solely market specialty crops to customers outside the U.S. Applications are approved on a competitive basis and reimbursement amounts are based upon the strength of the application, with an average reimbursement of $4,000.

Expenses included within Specialty Crop 2018 are:

  • Airfare
  • Lodging at federal rates
  • Meals at federal per diem rates
  • Car rental
  • Mileage
  • Trade show fees

Specialty crop companies of all sizes are encouraged to apply. Participation in Specialty Crop 2018 requires companies to provide their sales information from approved activities on a quarterly basis throughout the grant period, which is October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2019. Sales information is reported in aggregate to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Applications are available at http://ndto.com/specialty-crop-grant/application-forms/. Any questions on STEP ND or the Specialty Crop Program, please email Rebecca Espinoza at rebecca@ndto.com.

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