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NDTO News Article

North Dakota Companies See Immediate Benefits from STEP ND Program

Exporting takes a great commitment of time and resources, but NDTO has found that a little financial support can go a long way – which is why NDTO created STEP ND, a financial reimbursement program designed to assist North Dakota companies in growing their export sales.  STEP ND was launched in October 2012 when NDTO received a grant worth $671,437 from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. By March 2014, those funds were turned into $23.8 million in export revenue and that number is expected to bring an additional $89.2 million in export revenue into North Dakota by September 2014.

The STEP program has been a much-needed boost for states around the country and has helped the nation’s small businesses compete in foreign markets.  Many North Dakota businesses that utilized STEP ND saw immediate benefits.  Below are just a few examples of success stories from North Dakota companies that have used the program:

  • Fargo Jet Center – Fargo, ND:

Fargo Jet Center received a total of $15,800 of STEP ND funds to defer the cost of attending aviation shows in Switzerland, Canada, India, Brazil, and Las Vegas. This has resulted in their 2013 international aircraft sales reaching over of $11.1 million. With the help of STEP ND, Fargo Jet Center was able to make multiple trips to India in order to acquire five new aircrafts, which will result in future gross revenue of approximately $15.5 million. The trips helped to strengthen their relationships with existing clients, as well as aid in cultivating new relationships in different parts of the world where they see aviation growing.

Fargo Jet Center maintains 24/7 jet services and opportunities as a United States customs port of entry, fixed-based operator and fuel supplier. They also offer sales, acquisition and brokerage services in aircraft markets all over the world. Fargo Jet Center opened 18 years ago, and has seen continuous growth since then. The STEP ND program has been a growth catalyst.

  • Norwood Sales, Inc. – Horace, ND:

Norwood Sales, Inc. was granted $4,000 of STEP ND funds to offset the cost of purchasing a booth at the Canadian Farm Progress Show in Regina, SK. In the past, Norwood Sales Inc. would only send a few key employees to this trade show in order to attend and view products. With the help of the STEP ND program, 2013 was their first year as a vendor at this show. As a result of securing a booth, they have now sold multiple units into Canada.  Due to the interest and inquiries they received from the show, $238,315 in gross sales have been achieved, with numerous prospects on the horizon.

Norwood Sales was founded in 1992 with a main goal of distributing high quality, reliable agricultural products through a dealer network and to local farmers. Norwood Sales Inc. is similar to many other small manufacturing companies in North Dakota in that displaying products to foreign buyers tends to be a desire rather than reality.  The STEP ND program has helped allow Norwood flexibility in displaying to these buyers and achieve sales and market awareness in the Canadian Seed, Grain & Fertilizer Market.

  • Posi Lock Puller – Cooperstown, ND:

Posi Lock Puller received a total of $4,000 of STEP ND funding to offset costs for personnel to attend a trade show in China and an additional $4,000 to ship their product – a gear puller – to China for demonstration.  As a result of this initiative, Posi Lock Puller generated $77,345.47 of immediate sales and anticipated an additional $125,000 in sales.

Posi Lock Puller has a distribution network in every country in the world, and currently employs 35 people.  Although their products are shipped world-wide, all of the pullers are made in the U.S., with most of the outsourcing needs handled within a 200-mile radius of their small plant in Cooperstown, ND.   Tamara Somerville, Vice President of Posi Lock, was also selected as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2013 North Dakota Small Business Exporter of the Year.

  • Healthy Oilseeds – Carrington, ND: 

Healthy Oilseeds received $4,000 to offset costs for a targeted sales trip to Brazil and Colombia.  The company made an immediate sale of golden flax to Brazil – their first sale into the market – for $90,000 and expects Brazil to be a ‘million-dollar market’ for Healthy Oilseeds.

Healthy Oilseeds is a grower, processor and exporter of grains and oilseeds, both organic and non-organic.  Healthy Oilseeds is operated by the Gussiaas Family, a second generation farm, which has grown flax for more than 50 years.  Healthy Oilseeds began exporting in 2002 and today over 60 percent of all sales are international.

According to SBA, the average return on investment for each dollar spent on export promotion is 14.75:1, meaning , that for every federal dollar spent there was $14.75 in sales made by U.S. small business exporters.  In North Dakota, the direct results of STEP ND have generated a return on investment of 26:1.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce measured the economic impacts of the STEP ND program through December 31, 2013, using a customized Regional Economic Models Incorporated (REMI) Policy Insight™ model for North Dakota.  Based on REMI data, the $18.5 million in export sales reported by STEP ND through 2013 generated 87 individual jobs and created $8.4 million in GDP for North Dakota (See Table 1 Summary Results).  To view the complete REMI data report, click here.