Export Delaware is proud to announce that we have received another State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). We look forward to using this year’s STEP grant funds, in addition to the remaining funds awarded previously, to continue to support Delaware small businesses increase exports. Although COVID-19 has kept most sales managers inside state lines, they have not stopped selling their products and services overseas. Business development must go on, and the SBA STEP grant program supports Delaware small businesses in their efforts.
The program’s objectives are to increase the number of US small businesses that export, growing sales, and ultimately generating jobs in Delaware. The STEP Grant program makes matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses in the international marketplace. With the SBA STEP Grant award and the State match, Delaware exporters and small businesses now have access to $386,000 in grant funds for their export efforts.
To date, 96 Delaware small businesses have participated in the program. As a result, these small businesses report $31 million in new export sales over the past two years and project nearly $300 million in additional export sales. Also, Delaware small businesses participating have added 27 new jobs.
“The STEP Grant funds from the SBA have proven to be critical to Delaware small business owners, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is essential for keeping small businesses on the growth track,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock.
As with previous STEP grants, a significant portion of the grant will be used to reimburse small- and medium-sized companies for eligible, pre-approved export expenses such as translation of international marketing materials, global search engine optimization and website internationalization for foreign audiences, virtual business meetings with overseas customers, interpreters and more. Once international travel is determined safe, the funds may be used for global travel to secure and visit customers and trade show activities. Without STEP grant funds, these services’ costs would otherwise prohibit many Delaware small businesses from entering lucrative global markets.
Export Delaware, the State’s official export resource for small businesses, will use the grant to finance export-related marketing activities. Delaware small businesses that are interested in applying may learn more about the program at Export.Delaware.gov.
“We are thrilled to continue to support Delaware’s small businesses as they begin to export and grow through increased international sales. Now more than ever, international sales are critical. One major purchase order from an overseas company could sustain a Delaware small business for several months as they weather the COVID-19 economy here in the States.” said Beth Pomper, head of Export Delaware.
This year, Export Delaware offers customized virtual business meetings on Zoom/Skype with prospective customers worldwide. These trade programs are designed specifically for Delaware small businesses and provide the opportunity for their teams to meet one-on-one with potential customers and distributors overseas, all while remaining safely at home.
Delaware’s international trade representatives (who are funded by the SBA STEP program) work with the Export Delaware team to organize meetings with targeted customers tailored to each participant’s needs. Delaware’s trade representatives abroad have wide networks in their countries, enabling them to secure meetings with high-level decision-makers. Export Delaware staff work closely with Delaware businesses, even participating in their meetings (if applicable), to facilitate discussion and close deals.
“We hold the hand of each sales manager throughout the process,” says Beth Pomper, “We do all we can to help them achieve purchase orders from new customers overseas.” Beth Pomper is no stranger to international business development. Before joining the State of Delaware and launching the State’s strategic export plan, Pomper launched over 100 brands overseas.
To learn more about the STEP Grant and how to apply, visit Export.Delaware.gov/STEP-Grant or contact Beth Pomper at Beth.Pomper@Delaware.gov.