State receives $325,600 for small business exporting

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Gov. Phil Scott has announced the state will receive a $325,600 grant to help small businesses in Vermont reach international markets.

The grant is awarded through the Small Business Administration's (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), a federal-state partnership initiative intended to increase the number of small businesses exporting and the value of exports by the small business sector.

"STEP is a valuable program, and this grant will help Vermont small businesses sell local products and services in markets all over the world," said Scott. "Vermont is known for its innovative entrepreneurs and quality products, and expanding exporting opportunities will allow our small businesses to further enhance that brand across the globe."

The Department of Economic Development, a division of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, will oversee and manage the grant. The funds are used to participate in foreign trade missions, export training and compliance, as well as company website upgrades to reach the international market.

"We are pleased the SBA has once again given us this opportunity to assist Vermont small businesses in expanding into international markets," said Commissioner of Economic Development Joan Goldstein. "These funds are instrumental for paving the way for our Vermont businesses to attend international trade shows as critical as Aeromart, Solar Power International, and individual grants to assist small businesses in their own export strategies."

This is the seventh time the state has been awarded a STEP grant. Since STEP was created in 2010, the SBA has provided Vermont with more than $1.4 million in STEP grants.

Individual state project award amounts vary based on proposed project plans and budgets. The SBA awarded $18 million in STEP grants to 44 states in 2017.

"STEP is a strong companion piece to SBA's export loan guarantee programs. While the state assists with entrepreneurs accessing new markets, we can assist with the finance needed for the suppliers, inventory or production of export goods," said Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont district director.

Since the creation of STEP, the SBA has guaranteed more than $19 million in exporting loans to Vermont small businesses.

"Each year the Agency has expanded the number of companies we assist as well as the number of different sectors. We hope to continue to grow this important program," said Katie Corrigan, Department of Economic Development international trade manager.

According to the International Trade Administration's (ITA) 2017 Vermont Exports, Jobs, & Foreign Investment report, more than 1,200 Vermont companies sold $3 billion worth of goods outside of the U.S. in 2016. The state's largest exporting markets were Canada, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Mexico and Korea. Computer and electronic products account for nearly two-thirds of all goods exported from Vermont.

The ITA also reports the Burlington area ranks among the top 100 largest metro areas exporting in the U.S. In 2016, the Burlington area exported $2.1 billion worth of goods, which is 78 percent of the state's exports.

For more information on the STEP program, visit http://accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/programs/international-trade/grants.


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