Update: The state of Utah has received a $641,000 STEP Grant for FY 2020 – a record-high STEP Grant in Utah! Applications open on Monday, October 5, 2020.
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 Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is administered by World Trade Center Utah.
The purpose of STEP is:
- To increase the number of eligible small businesses in the State that export
- To increase the value of exports by eligible small businesses in the State
- To increase the number of significant new trade opportunities for eligible small businesses
STEP is a cost-reimbursement grant. Recipients may receive up to $15,000 for various eligible international business activities for the award year. Average awards are between $2,000 – $3,000 per activity. All grant awards require a 25 percent cash match by the grant recipient.
STEP funds can be used for the following three options:
Small Business Eligibility Criteria
- An ‘eligible small business concern’ (ESBC);
- A for-profit business registered in Utah;
- Physically located and operational in Utah at least one year;
- Not barred from federal funds;
- One or more full-time employees;
- Export-ready company seeking to export goods or services of U.S. origin OR have at least 51% U.S. content (click here to learn more);
- Sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade;
- Small business in accordance with SBA guidelines and size standards:
https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/ or Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
***For help developing an export strategy please reach out to our Trade Services Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following small businesses are not eligible for STEP funding:
- Consulting agencies
- Law firms
- Accounting and financial firms
- 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
- Multi-level marketing (MLM), direct sales or network marketing companies
- Non-profit organizations
- 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
Small Business Eligibility Criteria
With regard to foreign travel and other costs incurred by STEP eligible small business concerns, the following costs are allowable:
- U.S. Commercial Service services for exporters
- Export Training
- Export research tool subscription to assist with market research (capped at $2,000)
- Design and development of website with an international focus, online market listing fees, E-commerce platform fees, including hosting and maintenance fee, expenses to set up websites to accept international payments, oversight and maintenance and monitoring fees for search engine optimization (capped at $6,000)
- Website optimization: translation into foreign languages, search engine optimization, and localization services (capped at $6,000)
- Design of international marketing media, all forms and channels of social media and digital ad payments (capped at $6,000)
- Fees for shipping sample products (capped at $4,000)
- Compliance testing of an existing product for entry into an export market (capped at $6,000)
- Cost associated with international IP protection (limited to the following–USPTO PCT transmittal fee [up to $120], filing fee [up to $200], search fee [up to $1040]; Hague Intl Design App transmittal fee [up to $60], Trademark Madrid Protocol fee [up to $250])
- Registration fees, booth space and travel for trade shows or missions (virtual or in-person)
- Airfare & baggage fees (consistent with Fly America Act guidelines; economy rate only)
- Ground transportation fees
- Lodging (based on GSA/Department of State per diem rates)
- Currency exchange fees
- Meeting space, audio/visual for a foreign market sales trip
The following costs of STEP eligible small business concerns and you are NOT allowable:
- Passport or visa fees
- Expenses related to entertaining current or prospective clients or government officials
- New product development or alteration of existing products
- Cellphones and cellphone charges
- Television and radio production
- Efforts to create or augment marketing and advertising campaigns to draw international visitors to a state
- Printing material for an ‘eligible small business concern’
State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant
Actual and Projected Export Sales – Reporting Definitions
WTC Utah and the SBA requires each STEP recipient to submit the $ value of actual and projected export sales attributable to grant-funded activities. This information helps WTC Utah and the SBA evaluate and improve STEP program management. While generating exports sales is the ultimate goal of the program, STEP recipients are not evaluated solely on these metrics. Successful use of these grant funds should return export sales over time. Reporting unrealistically large amounts of projected export sales that translate into zero export sales only makes STEP management more difficult. You understand your business and sales cycle best. Rely on your knowledge and intuition and recognize that these numbers will likely change over time.
WTC Utah defines actual sale as, “The $ value of revenue completely or partially attributable to your grant-funded activity.” This includes any orders received from a new client during the next two years as well as any increase in sales to current clients during the next two years that you believe is attributable to your grant-funded activities. Please count receivables in this total, even if payment is 60 or 90 days out. While you are obligated to report actual export sales from grant related activities for two years following the grant award, there is no time limit on reported sales. Therefore, if you sign a contract for five years, please report the entire value of the contract up front. While WTC Utah will not follow up with you after the two years are complete, we hope you will continue telling us your international success long after.
WTC Utah defines a projected sale as, “The $ value of potential revenue completely or partially attributable to your grant-funded activity within the next two years.” While this may be difficult to forecast, we suggest using the following guidelines:
- Consider potential client(s) you met directly or indirectly as a result of the grant-funded activity.
- Given what you know about the client and your own sales process, estimate the potential export sales in dollars for that client. If your typical contract length exceeds two year, include the entire contract.
- Repeat the process for each potential client and sum.
***A note on reporting actual and projected export sales:
During the two years following the grant-funded activity, please adjust your reporting of actual and projected export sales as opportunities as won, lost or created. If you project a $10,000 sale, and win a sale for $7,500, please let us know your projected sales from the event have decreased by $10,000 and your actual export sales have increased by $7,500. If in a year, the same customer contacts you for another potential $10,000 sale, please update your total for projected sales.
STEP Project Director