Helping Maine Exporters Receive STEP Grant Funding

In September 2015, the U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant initiative awarded the Maine International Trade Center (MITC) $161,000 in funding under the program for the 2015-2016 year. This award gives Maine companies access to federal funding for export development and compliance activities administered through the MITC and is the third year of funding it received funds under the STEP program. Today, there is $140,000 still available and must be used by Sept 30, 2016.

OCEANAIR’s office in Maine is working with our strategic partner, Mohawk Global Trade Advisors (MGTA), to help interested companies facilitate this grant. The STEP Grant provides eligible businesses reimbursements up to $8,500 per year toward specified costs associated with business matchmaking services, trade show participation, and export skills and compliance training.  MGTA has reviewed its offerings and with MITC and the services are an excellent match to MITC’s Export Skills and Training component of the grant. MGTA will provide a written proposal that can be submitted as part of the application for the grant to assist with scope and project details. To receive funding through this program, export development, and compliance activities must be completed by September 30, 2016.

This year, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Export Promotion program is focused on export compliance for manufacturers of technology or defense related items. A recent study of Maine companies identified that international standards and compliance as a major barrier to expanded export sales. As part of the STEP grant, companies will also receive reimbursements for on-site training, compliance audits, and technical assistance consulting. By applying now, approved projects can offset costs associated with CE marking, ITAR compliance, or other technical or regulatory standards.

For program eligibility and application help, please contact Kristen Morneau, Senior Advisor, Mohawk Global Trade Advisors, at (978) 430-7210.