Massachusetts Announces Almost $700,000 in Trade Expansion Grants

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This week, the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) and the Massachusetts Small Business Development/ Massachusetts Export Center announced that 46 small businesses across the Commonwealth will receive $666,667 in State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grants.

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the STEP grants support export activities such as trade show participation, overseas marketing and localization services, and subscription services from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said the Baker-Polito Administration “is committed to providing opportunities for our small businesses to showcase their products and compete in the global marketplace. The STEP Grant program provides critical funding to help small businesses increase their exposure on the global stage and drive continued business growth.”

SBA Massachusetts District Director Bob Nelson said the STEP awards “fund opportunities to increase the footprint of small businesses around the world. Our goal is to support them through every step of the process – connecting them to valuable resources such as the Massachusetts Export Center, U.S. Commercial Services and MOITI.”

Assistant Secretary of Business Development and International Trade Nam Pham said, “Over the past three years, the STEP Grant program has provided funds. MOITI is pleased to partner with the SBA and MEC to promote exporting for the Commonwealth’s small businesses.”

Massachusetts Export Center Director Paula Murphy said the STEP grant “enables Massachusetts businesses to engage in targeted, high-impact activities to increase export sales. We look forward to working with this year’s awardees to ensure that they succeed in global markets.”

MOITI and the Massachusetts Export Center selected applications in a competitive process based on feasibility and export readiness, with priority given to new-to-export firms looking to expand into the global marketplace. Grantees are encouraged to utilize the market research and export assistance services provided through the Export Center to ensure the highest return on investment.

The SBA awarded $500,000 to Massachusetts for the STEP program in September 2018. The Commonwealth has contributed $166,667 in matching funds. Grant recipients are required to leverage private money in addition to the grant funds to ensure that taxpayer money is spent efficiently and effectively.

For more information on the STEP program and services provided by the Mass Export Center visit