FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: When is the application period?
A: Companies may apply for a 2018 STEP grant from October 9-October 31, 2017. Companies will be notified if they have received funding within approximately 6-8 weeks after applying.

Q: When can I use the STEP funding?
A: Trade-related activities that receive STEP funding must be completed between October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018.

Q: When will I receive the STEP funding?
A: Companies will receive the STEP funding after the trade-related activity is completed and required documentation is submitted to WTC Utah. Businesses will submit an invoice with their total reimbursement request to WTC Utah, a detailed report of activity justifying the reimbursement and all supporting documents as required in the Utah STEP contract.

Q: Who can apply?
A: Any qualifying small business headquartered in Utah can apply. In short, a qualifying small business will:

  • Be registered to do business and headquartered in the state of Utah
  • Have been in business for no less than one year
  • Be operating profitably
  • Is a for-profit company
  • Has 3 or more full-time employees, but no more than 500 employees globally
  • Has a finished product or qualifying service with at least 51% U.S. Content

For further information about qualifying as a small business, please click here to view SBA small business definitions.

Q: Who does not qualify?
A: Ineligible small businesses are those that do not have a product or service to export, are acting as intermediaries for other companies, and/or are recruiting foreign investment. Ineligible small businesses include:

  • Consulting agencies
  • Law firms
  • Real estate developers
  • Retail businesses
  • Hospitality or tourism operators
  • Distributors representing clients
  • Educational institutions or for-profit schools recruiting students
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Companies, organizations or individuals recruiting foreign direct investment
  • Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing companies

Q: What defines 51% U.S. content?
A: State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) matching grant awards are made to organizations that have a product or qualifying service that has at least 51% U.S. content.

This criterion typically applies only to companies that manufacture a product with components or materials used to make the final product are sourced from foreign markets. Essentially, 51% U.S. content may be defined as:

  • The value of U.S. content (including, but not limited to, material, equipment, marketing/sales, labor and distribution costs) in the product or service being exported must exceed 50% of its cost
  • OR The net cost to the buyer minus any foreign inputs (manufacturing costs, materials, etc.), at least 51% of the total cost

If you need assistance determining whether or not your product contains at least 51% U.S. content, please contact WTC Utah at grants@wtcutah.com.

Q: How much funding can my company receive from the STEP grant?
A: The Utah STEP Grant provides cost reimbursement matching grants up to $15,000 applied to multiple activities. Companies may only apply once, so they are encouraged to include multiple export related activities on their grant application.

All grants require 25% percent cash match by the grant recipient. For every authorized $1.00 you spend you will be reimbursed $0.75, to the maximum award. Please note the following maximum awards based off of trade activity type:

  • Trade show matching grants awards are up to $4,000 ($5333 allowable expenses) are require a 25% cash match by the recipient up to $1,333. These are grants for participation at a state coordinated trade show event.
  • Trade mission matching grants are up to $6,000 ($8,000 allowable expenses) and a 25% cash match by the recipient up to $2,000. These are grants for participation at a state coordinated trade mission
  • Financial assistance grants are up to $15,000 ($20,000 allowable expenses) and require a 25% cash match by the recipient up to $5,000. These activities include independent trade shows, translation services, U.S. Commercial Services Services, etc. Please note the additional maximum award amounts:
    • Education activities are up to $750 ($1,000 allowable expenses) and a 25% cash match by the recipient up to $250.
    • Website upgrades for international needs are up to $2,250 ($3,000 allowable expenses) and a 25% cash match by the recipient up to $750

Q: What trade event activities are eligible for STEP funding?
A: Companies may apply for grant funding for any state-led trade mission or trade show event directly coordinated by WTC Utah in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. These include the following:

Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 2018: Arab Health 2018 Trade Show
March 6-8, 2018: JEC Composites World 2018 Trade Show
April 2018: Mexico Trade Mission
June 17-20, 2018: Friedrichshafen OutDoor Show 2018 Trade Show
July 16-20, 2018: Farnborough International Airshow and UK Trade Mission (Joint Trade Mission and Trade Show Event)
September 2018: Taiwan Trade Mission

Additionally, companies may apply for funding for participation in other, independent trade event activities. These requests will be evaluated on an individual basis, with companies being required to provide an overview of the proposed activity and their participation in said-activity. For a list of additional trade shows around the world, visit https://www.export.gov/trade_events_search#/

Q: What are qualifying reimbursable expenses?
A: Qualifying expenses include:

  • Airfare (Fly America provisions apply)
  • Services through the U.S. Department of Commerce/U.S. Commercial Services: International Partner Search, Gold Key, Platinum Key, etc.
  • Business-to-business meetings coordinated by qualifying providers
  • Market analysis by qualifying providers
  • Related services offered by the U.S. Commercial Service and World Trade Center Utah
  • Interpretation/translation services
  • Website and marketing material translation such as translation into a foreign language, search engine optimization, location services
  • Trade mission participation fees
  • Participation in international trade training workshops/education
  • Qualifying expenses related to exhibiting at international trade shows, include but are not limited to:
    • Printing (signage, brochures, business cards)
    • Demonstration supplies
    • Shipping fees for booth/product display
    • Shipping fees for sample products
    • Ground transportation costs within the hosting locale
  • Qualifying hotel and lodging expenses
  • Meals & Incidental Expenses (M & IE). Meals and incidental expenses to be reimbursed at the Maximum M&IE Rate as set by the U.S Department of State. Travel days are reimbursed at 75% of the allowed rate.

Q: What expenses do not qualify for STEP reimbursment?
A: Expense categories ineligible for reimbursement include, but are not limited to:

  • Airline Point Redemption. Do not use airline points to pay for your travel as they are NOT reimbursable. You may use points to upgrade to business or first class. Just ensure that it shows clearly on the receipt
  • Cell phones and cell phone charges
  • Travel expenses for importers/distributors or in-market company representatives
  • Compensation, wages or salaries
  • Meals and beverages (except for travel per diem)
  • Tips of any kind
  • Costs of product research, development or alteration of existing products
  • Expenses incurred outside of the STEP grant period
  • Passport or visa fees
  • Expenses related to entertaining current or prospective clients or government officials
  • Federal regulations set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury prohibit funding of activities in/with sanctioned and/or embargoed countries.