Kansas has received a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant of $296,533 from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Kansas Departments of Agriculture and Commerce will partner to leverage the grant funding to promote exports.
“Kansas has a proud and rich tradition in agriculture and understands that the international market is the key to growth of the industry. This grant will allow us to explore emerging markets for Kansas agricultural products,” stated Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey. “Kansas had more than $4.9 billion in agriculture exports in 2014.”
“Trade is critical to the health of the Kansas economy,” Kansas Commerce Interim Secretary Michael Copeland said. “The STEP Grant will allow us to continue to support the efforts of the great businesses in our state to grow and expand in markets across the world.”
The STEP Grant will be used to help businesses begin exporting for the first time or to grow their existing exports. The Kansas STEP team will focus on several areas to accomplish this goal. It will facilitate export training for small and medium-sized enterprises through seminars and courses. The team will also provide exhibition opportunities at international trade shows and support for participation in international trade missions. In addition, the grant will provide market entry support through the U.S. Commercial Service’s expertise and programs.
The STEP program is a pilot export initiative to make matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses in entering and succeeding in the international marketplace. The program’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export and to increase the value of exports by small businesses. STEP activities are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the SBA’s Office of International Trade.
Detailed information about how Kansas businesses may apply for funding through the STEP grant will be available soon.