Compass Grant Header

 

The Compass Grant helps Delaware small businesses navigate international business development through grant funding to support marketing and sales activity around the world.

Delaware small businesses may apply for a Compass Grant to support international travel or business development activities. This grant offers greater flexibility than previous programs. Compass Grant funds may be used to reimburse up to 50 percent of all pre-approved, eligible, international marketing expenses, up to a maximum of $10,000 per fiscal year, per company.

 

 

Are you wondering how to connect with new customers around the world?

Do you feel you’ve exhausted your pipeline of clients domestically?

Would you like to exhibit at an international trade show?

 

If this sounds like your business, the Compass Grant is for you.

 

 

It’s more expensive to travel now than ever before. It can also be very challenging to connect with new prospective customers around the world. That’s why the Delaware Department of State created the Compass Grant, to help Delaware small businesses navigate international business development.

Companies that sell internationally (export) are more profitable, grow faster, and are more resilient to economic fluctuations. They also create more local jobs!

You don’t have to be a huge company to sell internationally. According to the SBA, some of the most successful exporters are innovative small- and medium-sized businesses (which account for 98 percent of U.S. exporters).

 

Here are some examples of how you can use Compass Grant funds: 

 

In addition to these activities, Delaware Small Businesses may participate in Export Delaware’s Business Trips. These trips are an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face with distributors and potential customers – all with the assistance of seasoned global trade experts. Travel expenses on these trips are eligible for reimbursement through the Compass Grant. Click here to learn more.

Note, to be eligible to receive a Compass Grant, your business must have a physical operation and employees in Delaware and meet additional requirements listed below.

 

 

How it Works

Apply for a Compass Grant if you’re seeking financial assistance expanding into new international markets.

  1. Apply: Apply by completing an online Compass Grant Application. List the amount of funds you are requesting on your application. Note the maximum grant award amount you may be eligible for is $10,000.
  2. Award: If your business meets the Compass Grant requirements, and there are funds available, you will be awarded a grant to move forward on the project. All expenses must be pre-approved by Export Delaware, so be sure not to incur any expenses before you receive final award from our office.
  3. Project Execution and Payment: Go about your international business and keep a good record of your expenses along the way. Note what expenses are allowable and unallowable per the Compass Grant Guidelines below.
  4. Reimbursement: Once the project/trip is complete, you can submit your reimbursement request to Export Delaware per the Compass Grant guidelines. You will be reimbursed 50% of the costs associated with your project, as long as they meet the requirements. For example, if the project costs $10,000, you may submit a reimbursement request for $5,000 (50% of the cost).

 

Does My Business Qualify?

To qualify for Compass Grant funds, your business must meet the size requirements of a small business (listed here), and the goods or services your organization that you will promote on this trip must be of US origin OR have at least 51% US content.

In addition, you must meet the following requirements:

 

 

Compass Grant Allowable Expenses

Click each item category below to find out which expenses are allowable (and unallowable). If you have questions about whether an expense is eligible, please get in touch with Export Delaware before incurring any expenses.

 

Travel expenses can only be reimbursed for ONE traveler per company. An exception may be made if the second traveler is a technical person who is needed to facilitate sales. 

 

Allowable Expenses:

  • Airfare – Coach fare is encouraged. If you prefer to fly business class, your flight may be eligible for reimbursement if it meets the following criteria: the scheduled flight time, including non-overnight stopovers and change of planes, is in excess of 14 hours; and you are required to report for business duty within 24 hours of arrival at the destination. Please check with the Delaware Department of State staff to verify your ticket’s reimbursement eligibility before purchasing.
  • Transportation costs (airfare, ground transportation, parking, taxis, Ubers, mileage, tolls, and other associated and allowable travel expenses).
  • Lodging – Up to 150% of the maximum lodging rate of the federal per diem for each city of travel.
  • Baggage fees
  • Design of marketing material fees
  • Development of market research materials
  • Fees for shipping sample products
  • Language interpretation services

 

Unallowable Expenses:

  • Two staff members travel
  • Expenses related to entertainment of current or prospective clients or government officials
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Immunizations
  • International cell phone charges
  • Printing of marketing materials
  • Meals while traveling

International trade shows where your business is exhibiting or have one-on-one business meetings with prospects at the show. 

Allowable Expenses:

  • All registration fees for an in-person trade show booth
  • All registration fees for a virtual trade show booth
  • Raw booth space (can be purchased and reimbursed up to 1 year prior to the trade show)
  • Design costs of the booth – this may include or is limited to: signage, furniture costs, graphics
  • Trade show catalog listing fees
  • Trade show advertising fees
  • Airfare – Coach fare is encouraged. If you prefer to fly business class, your flight may be eligible for reimbursement if it meets the following criteria: the scheduled flight time, including non-overnight stopovers and change of planes, is in excess of 14 hours; and you are required to report for business duty within 24 hours of arrival at the destination. Please check with the Delaware Department of State staff to verify your ticket’s reimbursement eligibility before purchasing.
  • Lodging – Up to 150% of the maximum lodging rate of the federal per diem for each city of travel.
  • Transportation costs for one traveler per company (airfare, ground transportation, parking, taxis, Ubers, mileage, tolls, and other associated and allowable travel expenses)
  • Fees for shipping sample products
  • Baggage fees
  • Design of marketing material fees to bring to show

Unallowable Expenses:

  • Expenses related to entertainment of current or prospective clients or government officials
  • Meals while traveling
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Immunizations
  • International cell phone charges
  • Printing of marketing materials

Allowable Costs: 

  • Export training registration fees
  • Export training materials
  • Travel expenses to/from training(s)
  • Development of training materials related to exporting
  • Venue fees to host a training
  • A/V fees for the training
  • Speaker fees
  • Export certification or training workshops offered by SBA resource partners, such as, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women Business Centers (WBCs), and SCORE
  • U.S. Commercial Service trainings that assist companies going to market and with executing strategic export plans
  • ExporTech program – jointly offered by the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership and federal/state export partners
  • New to Export SIDO ESBC Training
  • Export compliance training from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Dept. of Commerce, Defense Directorate of Trade Controls (BIS), U.S. State Dept., and U.S. Census Bureau, Dept. of Commerce
  • State and local training programs by private-sector consultants including compliance, logistics, financing, and international marketing

 

Unallowable Expenses:

  • Food and beverage costs at trainings
  • Costs for printing training material

For costs associated with optimizing a website or webpage for a specific international audience.

Allowable Expenses:

  • Develop localized webpages for specific international markets
  • Translate pages of one’s website for specific markets
  • Conduct a search engine optimization (SEO) project for one’s website in a specific market
  • Create a mobile app integration, creation, and updates to support ESBC in selling their product(s) in a specific market
  • Develop a webstore setup and/or maintenance costs
  • Set up to receive and/or process online payments and orders
  • Create a platform to sell online using, but not limited to: Amazon Services, Walmart Marketplace, Alibaba Inc., FlipKart, and Rakuten
  • Develop cybersecurity protection to support exports

Unallowable Expenses:

  • Design of a company’s website

Allowable Expenses:

  • Customized Market Research
  • Initial Market Check
  • International Company Profile
  • International Partner Search
  • International Partner Search + Virtual Introductions
  • Gold Key Service (GKS)
  • Hosting a trade event
  • Participate in/attend a certified trade mission
  • Participate in/attend certified virtual fairs
  • Participate in/attend a Dept. of Commerce seminar or webinar
  • Website globalization support

Consultant fees, market research fees, certification, and compliance testing fees for the following projects. 

Allowable Expenses:

  • Design a market entry strategy for an eligible small business
  • Provide a customized, market research for an eligible small business
  • Provide long-term market entry growth strategies for an eligible small business
  • Assist with compliance testing for products to enter a foreign market. This can include, but not limited to: CE Mark certification, ISO certification, RoHS certification, ITAR certification by the DDTC, State Dept., EAR licensing and certification fees by the BIS, US Dept. of Commerce

 

Must be pre-approved by Export Delaware.

Fees associated with designing, creating, and producing marketing materials for a specific international market.

Allowable Expenses:

  • Design of marketing brochures for specific markets
  • Design of social media platforms for specific markets
  • Design of websites for a specific market
  • Design of billboards for a specific market
  • Design of newspaper ads with an international focus
  • Design of advertisements in international magazines
  • Design of posters for a specific market
  • Design of product labeling for a specific market
  • Translation of items above
  • Other media may be approved in advance by Export Delaware as consistent with its definition of marketing media

 

Unallowable Expenses:

  • Printing costs for any of the above activities

Export credit insurance premiums.

Allowable Expenses:

  • Fees incurred for export credit insurance policy (including EXIM Bank fees and private sector providers)
  • Monthly “pay-as-you-go” fees from EXIM Bank
  • Initial annual premium from private providers
  • Foreign buyer credit reports

 

 

Testimonials

Advanced Materials Technology

 

“Funds were provided to visit our two distributors in China and have meetings at key accounts. This account will help generate a large percentage of sales over the next several years.”

– Stephanie Rosenberg, Advanced Materials Tech

LiteCure

“This program helps us meet existing, and develop new, distribution channels, for our products. The two largest, medical trade shows in the world were part of our itineraries. This provided a great opportunity to gain market intelligence. The grant, and all the other excellent support we receive from Export Delaware, has been an invaluable aid to our expansion overseas.”

– Andy Wood, LiteCure

Batta Environmental

“Export Delaware are very helpful to small businesses who want to export. They have a great team, who are ready to help.”

– Naresh Batta, Batta Environmental

Oasis Inspection Systems

“The folks at Export Delaware have been very helpful with our efforts to reach prospects outside of the US by taking away the fear of the unknown.”

  • Jeff Palmer, OASIS Inspection Systems

 

 

Additional Funding For Export Activities

 

Additional capital resources are available from the federal government and other organizations for export activities. Options range from tax credits to low interest loans, and other financing plans. Search here to find the right option for your business.

  • Name of Incentive: Export Express Loan Program
  • Issuing Organization: SBA
  • Details: Simplest loans offered by the SBA, granted to support export activity. Loan approval in 36 hours or less.
  • Connect:  website
  • Name of Incentive: Export Working Capital Program
  • Issuing Organization: SBA
  • Details: Loans to fund export transactions from purchase order to collections, with a low guaranty fee and quick processing time.
  • Connect:  website
  • Name of Incentive: International Trade Loan Program
  • Issuing Organization: SBA
  • Details: Loans available to small businesses in a position to expand existing export markets or develop new export markets, or that have been adversely affected by import competition and can demonstrate that the loan proceeds will improve their competitive position.
  • Connect:  website