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.