Press Release: ND Trade Office Awarded Export-Expansion Grant
Posted on September 24, 2012
FARGO, N.D. - The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) announced today that it has been awarded $671,437 by The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), through its State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program to build on North Dakota's success in expanding international exports. NDTO will use the funds to create STEP ND, a program that will enable eligible North Dakota companies to receive monetary reimbursement for international business activities. The one-year program will begin Oct. 1, 2012.
"North Dakota continues to expand its export sales and this grant will further assist businesses that want to take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. "Increasing the state's export sales is part of our long-term economic development strategy and though the North Dakota Trade Office we will continue to build on our international success."
STEP ND will focus 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 the STEP ND program include trade missions and foreign trade shows, NDTO education programs including the Export Management Course, ExporTech, Export 101 and Trade Talks, as well as international marketing materials.
"SBA is pleased to work with the North Dakota Trade Office to create opportunities and increase markets for small businesses," Jim Stai, SBA District Director for North Dakota said. "This is a perfect example of how partnered efforts between SBA and the State of North Dakota benefit small businesses creating the jobs and building a strong economic environment in our state."
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.
NDTO expects up to 75 individual North Dakota companies to benefit from STEP ND, generating $100 million in export sales over two years. STEP ND is projected to add 40 new active exporters in North Dakota.
STEP ND will be part of a larger strategy to promote North Dakota's high quality products in key international markets throughout the world. According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, North Dakota's merchandise exports have grown nearly 235 percent since the conception of NDTO, from $1 billion in 2004 to $3.4 billion in 2011.
NDTO is a member-based organization that provides education, research, advocacy and leadership so that North Dakota companies can develop and expand their export business. NDTO is a public-private partnership, led by a board of directors, chaired by North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley.
NDTO will facilitate the program with the help of partners including the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Commercial Service, Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the District Export Council.