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NDTO News Article

First STEP ND Program Concludes with $89.5 million in Export Sales

In September 2012 the North Dakota Trade Office was awarded a grant of $671,437 from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist in expanding North Dakota’s small businesses’ exports.  In just over a year, the program resulted in over $89.5 million in immediate international sales for small-to-medium sized North Dakota companies.

STEP ND Program Outline

STEP ND was launched on October 1, 2012, when the North Dakota Trade Office was awarded a grant of $671,437 from the US Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program.  The intent of STEP ND was straightforward – to help small North Dakota businesses offset the costs of entering or expanding into an international market.  To do this, STEP ND offered to qualified applicants: reimbursement for participation in an international trade mission, trade show or targeted sales trip; reimbursement for international marketing costs, and; reimbursement for international business education.  (To see a full outline of STEP ND program, click here.)


Within sixteen months of STEP ND, fifty-two (52) North Dakota small businesses took part in the program and increased the allocated grant funds by 13,000 percent, creating $89.5 million in immediate sales alone.  Below is a final snapshot of STEP ND’s success:

Program funds all allocated as of Feb 2014. Fifty-two (52) companies participated in STEP ND program.

Company Breakdown:
Forty-eight (48) companies expanded into 61 new markets;
New-To-Export participants = Twelve (12) companies
New-to Market participants = Forty (40) companies
Increase–To-Market participants = Eighteen (18) companies

Activity Breakdown: The average STEP ND company participated in 2.8 activities, averaging $2,863.54 in reimbursement per activity, with a total reimbursement from the STEP ND program of $7,934.39 and an average export sale of $644,067.

STEP ND program to date reported Value of Exports =$89,525,331
New-To-Market Value of Exports = $36,836,526
New-To-Export Value of Exports = $2,084,371

Reported Value of Exports by Category:
Mining:  $655,833
Manufacturing: $14,666,391
Agricultural Machinery:  $29,665,007
Value Added Agriculture: $35,597,924
Services:  $865,000
Aviation:  $12,510,000

To learn more about STEP ND, contact Sharon May at