There are a number of programs to help US firms fund their export activities. The restrictiveness varies, and application processes range from very easy to more complex. EBPA is happy to talk with you about aspects of each.
The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program
This grant program is administered by 24 states through the Small Business Administration to help assist small businesses enter and succeed in the international marketplace. The program provides funding for brand specific promotion: travel and trade show expense assistance. Through the program, companies can apply for up to $5,000 in grant money.
Each state has its own spending an eligibility guidelines, however, export activities include participation in foreign trade missions and market sales trips, subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce, design of international marketing products and campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training, etc. For more information, contact your local state trade office or the local Department of Commerce US Export Assistance.
Available to members of the EBPA or members of the Softwood Export Council. Cost: A flat $1250 membership dues per trip Eligibility: Eligible for EBPA overseas activities and trade shows listed on the SEC event calendar. Application Process: Contact EBPA or SEC to have your name added to the traveler list for each trip. Some shows or activities fill up quickly, so sign up early. Covers: 100% of coach airfare, designated hotels, ground expenses and a federally designated daily per diem.
The Branded Program "FundMatch"
Provides the greatest amount of funding to companies, with awards ranging from $2,500 to $300,000. Funds can be used for branded promotion activities such as company specific media, trade show booths, product packaging, and travel for up to two company representatives. The eligiblity, application, and reporting process is much more rigorous than the STEP or ACP programs, but funding is significantly greater and spending requirements are broader. More information is available at: wusata.org