STEP ND is North Dakota’s exporter reimbursement program funded in part through a grant from the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) and administered through the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO). The current STEP ND grant program is available for projects through September 29, 2025 (as available funding allows), at times there are multiple grant periods running at the same time. Qualified activities and programs include:
Applications and accompanying information can be obtained in the Application Section.
The mission of STEP ND is to enhance the ability of export-ready ND small businesses to expand their export sales and marketing programs and increase or retain jobs as a result of the use of the grant funds. STEP ND is designed to channel resources to ND companies to strengthen their export plans and increase ND’s presence in the global economy. Whether your company is currently exporting or new to export, assistance is available for you.
The North Dakota Trade Office, through the administration of the US Small Business Administration and Office of International Trade’s State Trade Expansion Program, will make available a maximum of $300,000 for the development of STEPND. These funds will be available effective through September 29, 2025.
The North Dakota Trade Office allocates funds to approved companies on a rolling basis. Applications are assessed with program fit and funding availability as they come in. Once all funding is fully allocated, the application process is over (unless allocated funds are under-utilized by awarded companies and turned back to NDTO). Applicants may receive less than the full amount requested. NDTO reserves the right to accept or reject any application or to limit allocations to any applicant. Allocations are determined based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
Funds will be used to assist eligible companies for reimbursement of 75% of eligible costs up to $5,000 per activity, including:
Eligible small businesses can take advantage of reimbursement starting with two applications for up to $10,000 ($5000 each) of funding through 9/29/24. If unallocated funding is available, additional applications may be accepted for companies who have completed two projects *Maximum cap amounts are subject to change with proper SBA approval. Please contact email@example.com for the most up-to-date information.
Participation in STEP ND is open to any ND small business as defined under SBA guidelines meeting the operational definition as required by the State Trade Expansion Program as follows:
In addition, applicants must:
NDTO reserves the right to approve or disapprove any application and associated expenses, determine eligibility matters, approve or disapprove reimbursement of expenses to a company, and interpret STEPND guidelines and requirements.
Each application will be acknowledged by email as having been received and submitted for review. The applicant may or may not be contacted by NDTO or its partners during the review process to discuss the application. Within 1-2 weeks of the acknowledgment email, the applicant will be notified of the decision.