The State of Michigan has recently been awarded $900,000 in MI-STEP funds by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Along with support from the Michigan Strategic fund, over $1.7 million is available for funding.

MI-STEP is a grant program that provides direct reimbursement to eligible small businesses with concerns to develop or expand export-related activities.

Because of the additional funding, maximum annual awards amounts are increasing from $12,000 to $15,000 per award year. Market expansion companies have the opportunity to receive a maximum reimbursement of $15,000 per year and new-to-export companies can receive a maximum reimbursement of $7,000 per year. The funding period runs from Sept. 30, 2017 through Sept. 29, 2018.

Eligible export activities for STEP grants are:

  • International Sales trips to any foreign countries
  • Participation in foreign trade missions
  • International trade show exhibitions
  • Subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center
  • Payment of website fees (specifically, translation to foreign languages, localization to foreign markets, and search engine optimization)
  • International advertisement, and design of marketing media for international markets
  • Participation in export training workshops
  • Reverse trade mission which brings foreign buyers to the United States to meet with potential suppliers of U.S.-manufactured goods and services. Payment of any costs associated with travel (transportation, lodging, etc.) of foreign buyers is not allowed
  • Procurement of international consultancy services (after consultation with the Department of Commerce to avoid duplication of services)
  • Other export initiatives subject to approval from SBA.

To find out if you are eligible for the STEP grant, complete the intake form and contact The Right Place at or (616) 771-0325