The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) announced today that it has been awarded a $231,045 grant by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through its State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to build on North Dakota’s success in expanding international exports. NDTO will use the funds to create STEP ND 2016, a program that will enable eligible North Dakota companies to receive monetary reimbursement for international business activities. This one-year program is now accepting applications for activities through September 29, 2017. This is the third STEP Grant that the NDTO has received, with previous STEP grants awarded in 2012 and 2015.
The NDTO aims to reach the same level of success with STEP ND 2016 as it did with the 2012 and 2015 programs. The NDTO received $287,694 during STEP ND 2015 and $671,437 during STEP ND 2012. Both were yearlong programs beginning October 1 of their respective grant periods and have achieved returns on investment of over 130:1.
“With the STEP grant, we help our companies increase their activity level in the global marketplace,” said NDTO’s executive director Dean Gorder. “North Dakota companies have secured tens of millions of dollars in sales as a result of the increase in international market development. We will showcase for the third time the return on investment that comes from investing in North Dakota companies.”
Companies Reimbursed for Foreign Market Sales Trips and More
STEP ND 2016 focuses on providing financial assistance and training to eligible North Dakota small businesses that currently export internationally or desire to enter the export market. The program is designed to provide resources to increase North Dakota’s presence in the global economy.
Activities that qualify for reimbursement under STEP ND include trade missions and foreign trade shows, foreign market sales trips, USCS subscriptions, shipping of sample products abroad, website translations, foreign marketing materials and the ExporTechTM export assistance program.
“About eighty percent of the state’s exporters are SMEs,” said Mike Gallagher, District Director at the SBA’s North Dakota District Office. “Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets. These STEP awards, in addition to SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help small businesses across our nation have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global.”
How to Apply
Selection of companies will be first-come-first-served, based on pre-approval of their STEP ND program application and export expansion plan. Any North Dakota small business as defined under SBA guidelines is eligible to apply. Information and applications for STEP ND 2016 are currently available on the NDTO website at www.ndto.com.
NDTO will facilitate STEP ND 2016 with the help of partners including Impact Dakota, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, North Dakota District Office of the SBA, North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the U.S. Commercial Service.