STEP Grant 2019-01-14T16:23:34+00:00

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant

The State of Utah has received a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant to help Utah small businesses enter and expand into dynamic global markets. STEP is funded in part through a Grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is administered by World Trade Center Utah. 

The purpose of STEP is:

  1. To increase the number of eligible small business concerns in the State that export
  2. To increase the value of exports by eligible small business concerns in the State
  3. To increase the number of eligible small business concerns exploring significant new trade opportunities

STEP is a cost reimbursement grant. Recipients may receive up to $10,000 for various eligible international business activities. All grant awards require a 25 percent cash match by the grant recipient.

STEP funds can be used for the following three options:

Option #1 – Attend a State-Led Trade Show

Option #2 – Attend a Governor-Led Trade Mission

  • Paris Air Show (Paris, France) – June 17-23, 2019 (Air Show Dates)
  • Japan and Hong Kong – September 16-20, 2019

Option #3 – Use a Financial Assistance Award

  • Independent trade show participation
  • Export lead trip
  • Export training
  • Translation services
  • Website translations for international needs
  • U.S. Commercial Service programming
  • Other pre-approved activities


Participants must meet the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) eligibility requirements to participate in the State Trade Expansion Program.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which authorized the State Trade Expansion Program, limits provisions of services to ‘eligible small business concerns’. For purposes of implementing STEP, the SBA operationally defines the term ‘eligible small business concern’ as an entity that meets the specifications below and completes the subsequent certification.

Complies with SBA requirements for self-representation as an eligible small business concern:

  • Is organized or incorporated in the United States;
  • Is operating in the United States;
  • Meets SBA size standards;
    • The applicable industry-based small business size standard established under section 3 of the Small Business Act; or
    • The alternate size standard applicable to the program under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act and the loan programs under title V of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. 695 et seq.);

The SBA size standards are found at 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Click here for information on size standards and click here to link directly to the complete list of SBA size standards used to define small business concerns based on NAICS codes.

  • Is not barred from federal funds;
  • Has been in business for more than one year;
  • Has sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade;
  • Is headquartered in Utah;
  • Is a for-profit business;
  • Has one or more full-time employees;
  • Has a finished product or qualifying service either directly or indirectly containing 51 percent United States content; and
  • Has an export strategy. 

The following small businesses are not eligible for STEP funding:

  • Consulting agencies
  • Companies, organizations or individuals recruiting foreign direct investment
  • Companies engaged in any activity that is illegal under Federal or state law
  • Derives more than one-third of its gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities
  • Distributors representing clients
  • Educational institutions or for-profit schools recruiting students
  • Foreign-based companies or more than 49% foreign owned
  • Hospitality or tourism operators
  • Law Firms
  • Multi-level marketing (MLM), direct sales or network marketing companies
  • Non-profit organizations, unless a significant portion of activities are to assist entrepreneurs
  • Presents live performances of sexual nature or derives more than a minor amount of revenue from the sale of products or services of a sexual nature
  • Real estate developers
  • World Trade Center Utah reserves the right to limit or exclude previous recipients of STEP funds that have been assessed risk rating

Eligible Expenses

With regard to foreign travel and other costs incurred by STEP eligible small business concerns, the following costs are allowable:

  • Airfare (consistent with Fly America Act guidelines and for more information click here for more guidance);
  • Ground transportation fees;
  • Baggage fees;
  • Parking fees;
  • Meals and lodging (based on GSA/Department of State per diem rates);
  • Registration fees and booth space for trade shows;
  • Trade mission fees;
  • Currency exchange fees;
  • Other associated and allowable travel expenses;
  • Fees for shipping sample products (capped at $2,000);
  • Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market (capped at $2,000);
  • Applicant export research tool subscription used to assist STEP Clients with market research (capped at $1,000); and
  • Website translation into foreign language, search engine optimization, and localization services (capped at $3,000).

The following costs are NOT allowable:

  • Passport or visa fees;
  • Immunizations;
  • Expenses related to entertaining current or prospective clients or government officials;
  • New product development or alteration of existing products; and
  • Cellphones and cellphone charges.

STEP Grant funded activities must take place prior to September 30, 2019.  Applications will remain open until September 2019.

Nicole Sherwood
STEP Project Director
(801) 599-9185