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State lands federal grant to boost exports

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded the state of Indiana a nearly $500,000 grant to develop and expand export-related activities among Hoosier small businesses. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant also aims to open up new markets for Hoosier-made goods around the globe.

The IEDC says eligible small businesses may apply for reimbursements of export-related activities, including participating in international trade missions, foreign trade shows and export educational programs. Governor Eric Holcomb says the grant will help further the growth of small businesses in Indiana.

The grant is being matched by the IEDC to the tune of $165,000, bringing the total amount of funding available to small businesses to $660,000.

“We are excited that the IEDC has succeeded in bringing STEP funding back to the state of Indiana,” Stacey Poynter, director of the SBA Indiana District, said in a news release. “Programs and funding created through the STEP award and SBA’s other export resources, including SBA-backed loans and local U.S. Export Assistance Centers, can open doors for small businesses to explore revenue streams they never dreamed existed abroad.”

The IEDC says the state’s STEP grant complements other efforts currently underway to boost exports among Hoosier companies. Those efforts include the Export Indiana Fellowship, which helps small businesses create ready-to-export business plans. The program is managed by the Indiana Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with the Purdue University Krannert School of Management and The International Center in Indianapolis.

The STEP program is managed by the SBA’s Office of International Trade and has awarded $157 million in grants to small businesses throughout the country to date. The IEDC says more information about how Hoosier small businesses can apply for funding will be made available in the coming months.