The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced Sept. 13 that California received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help the state’s small businesses boost trade and exports abroad.
CDFA and GO-Biz will use the funds as part of the California State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to help California small businesses participate in activities like foreign trade shows and access foreign markets through trade promotion initiatives.
“International trade is a critical part of California’s economy,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This award will help to fuel economic growth by allowing small businesses to expand export opportunities, compete in foreign markets, and support jobs here in California. As the nation’s largest agricultural producer and exporter, our farmers, ranchers and food processors benefit from open markets, export sales and a global consumer base.”
The SBA’s STEP program awarded grants to 41 states and territories to support activities to increase exports by US small businesses. STEP awards were created to advance key priorities identified in the 2010 President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), namely to expand the base of small businesses that become exporters, and to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small businesses. Since 2011, the STEP program has awarded approximately $157 million in grants to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.
“We look forward to the continued support from the US Small Business Administration. State access to STEP funds have allowed us to create opportunities for small businesses to market their products globally, scale their operations, meet new international customers, and create jobs across our state,” said Bud Colligan, Senior Advisor for International Affairs and Trade at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “As the world’s 5th largest economy, California needs to make sure our small businesses are integrated into the global economy and the STEP program allows us to do just that.”
California has received STEP funding in previous years, and this is the third year CDFA and GO-Biz will jointly administer the program. In addition to the federal support, California and its partner agencies will provide $323,076 in matching funds, bringing the total program funds to $923,076. CDFA and GO-Biz will work with partners including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Rios Community College District, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), and the University Enterprises Corporation at California State University San Bernardino.
The funds to help small businesses participate in activities like foreign export trade show exhibitions, foreign trade missions tailored for the sales of products and/or services, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the design of international marketing campaigns.
For more information on the California STEP program, visit californiaexport.org, and for additional information on SBA’s STEP program visit sba.gov/funding-programs/grants/state-trade-expansion-program-step.