What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
|Chris Crum writes for Small Business Resources about what's new for small business. Chris was a featured writer with the iEntry Network of B2B Publications where hundreds of publications linked to his articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.|
SBA Dedicates $18.8 Million to Small Business Trade Growth
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it is dedicating $18.8 million to support small business trade growth. The money comes via the SBA's 2016 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), and supports state-level investments in small business export programs.
SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet noted that exporting provides "tremendous opportunities" for small businesses in America, and that as two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power can be found outside of the country, roughly one percent of America’s 28 million small businesses are reaching customers on an international basis.
"Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets," she said. "These STEP awards, in addition to SBA's export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help small businesses across our nation have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global.”
According to the SBA, the awards are aimed at advancing "key priorities" identified in the National Export Initiative, which President Obama introduced in his 2010 State of the Union Address. It was designed to improve conditions related to the private sector's ability to export, such as removing trade barriers, helping companies get past obstacles in entering new markets, and to assist them with financing. The President said he wanted to revitalize the nation's efforts to promote American exports around the world.
In other words, the goal is to grow the amount of small businesses that are exporting by making it easier for them to do so. Awards like those given out in this sum of $18.8 million should help. The awards are given to states to support programs that help small businesses expand their activities related to exporting, such as participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, international subscription services, international marketing campaigns, trade show exhibits, training workshops, etc.
The SBA says the awards complement its export loan guaranty programs, which it issues to help businesses finance the working capital they need to complete export orders as well as the expansion of production facilities needed to keep up with export demand. The loans reach up to $5 million.
According to the Administration, those who received STEP awards in fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2014 reported strong returns on federal taxpayer investments, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.
Illinois, North Carolina, and Washington received the biggest awards this time around at $850,000 each. California got $844,214, Michigan got $820,000, and Texas got $800,000. On the other side of the spectrum, South Dakota received just $116,250. As the administration explains, awardees were determined via "a competitive process," as required by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.
Businesses who are not yet exporting, but intend to do so or have a desire to learn more about what to do, are encouraged to go to the government site https://www.export.gov, which provides resources and learning materials on how to get started.