SBA Invests $20 Million in Small Business International Expansion Efforts


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has allocated $20 million in grants to boost small business international trade. These grants will benefit 49 state and territory international trade agencies across the nation under the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

This recent allocation is of immense significance to the small business sector, particularly those eyeing the international marketplace. With a focus on assisting businesses to promote their offerings to the vast majority of the global population outside the U.S., the initiative by the Biden-Harris Administration is expected to level the playing field for entrepreneurs.

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, who spearheads the SBA and represents the interest of America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, underscored the value of STEP. “For over ten years, the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program has functioned as a pivotal federal-state collaboration, channeling funds directly to small businesses eager to explore international trade avenues,” Guzman remarked. She further highlighted the potential of these funds to equip businesses for international trade, enable their participation in global trade shows, and expand through global e-commerce.

Since the program’s inception in 2010, part of The Small Business Jobs Act, STEP has channeled $235.5 million in grants. This has catalyzed the international growth and export activities of over 13,000 small businesses. Moreover, the efficacy of this program is evident in its return on investment – a staggering $43 in export sales for every dollar from STEP funding last year.

Claire Ehmann, the Acting Associate Administrator for International Trade, expressed her sentiments on STEP’s significance. She said,

“STEP’s profound impact stands as a testament to the SBA’s unwavering support of U.S. small businesses seeking to grow their international footprint. As STEP matures beyond its first decade, the SBA will continue modernizing and marketing this signature program that helps small businesses enter and expand into the international marketplace.”

For small business owners, STEP grants can be instrumental. They defray costs associated with export-related undertakings, ranging from international marketing campaigns, foreign trade missions, training workshops, and participation in export-oriented trade exhibits.

In alignment with the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration, the SBA’s strategy is crystal clear: fortify the foundation of small business exporters and enhance their international competitiveness. Such strategic actions foster a conducive environment for America’s small businesses to thrive and position them effectively on the global stage.

For entrepreneurs eager to discern if their state or territory has clinched an award and are interested in tapping into these funding opportunities, a visit to www.sba.gov/STEP is recommended. Furthermore, local SBA Resource Partners are on standby to offer insightful small business counseling to steer your export strategies.

This latest announcement from the SBA is not merely about funds; it’s a reflection of a steadfast commitment to propelling small businesses to new heights in the global market. As the landscape of international trade continues to evolve, small business owners can remain hopeful, thanks to initiatives like STEP.

Image: SBA



Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.