Utah Receives Record-High STEP Grant of Over $1 Million to Accelerate Global Growth for Utah Businesses

The STEP Grant is awarded to World Trade Center Utah by the U.S. Small Business Administration

Salt Lake City The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) will receive a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant of $1,050,000, a record-high amount. This grant will be administered to small Utah businesses ready to accelerate the growth of their international sales.

The SBA has increased Utah’s STEP Grant from $300,000 to $1,050,000 over the past three years, the largest increase among any state in the country, because of Utah’s nation-leading trade promotion program and the success of Utah businesses that are utilizing the STEP Grant to increase their international sales and opportunities. WTC Utah administers the grant in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity to provide small businesses with financial support and business services to help them compete and win in global markets. Companies use these funds to travel to other countries and make necessary operational adjustments to do business abroad.

“The success and impact of the STEP grant program in Utah over the last several years has been inspirational,” said Marla Trollan, SBA Utah District Director. “International trade has been a high priority for me since I came to the SBA in 2017. We have collaborated with the World Trade Center on many initiatives, and I am proud of what we have been able to achieve together. The substantial increase in grant funding is a direct result of these efforts.”

Utah’s export growth rate has been the highest in the nation for the past two years. Eighty-five percent of Utah’s exporters are small businesses, and international sales add $5 billion across the state in additional revenue for these small business exporters.

“The STEP Grant is the backbone of Utah’s international trade program and plays a key role in the business community by elevating Utah’s international efforts,” said Nicole Sherwood, Director of Grants & Operations | STEP Project Director, who leads WTC Utah’s efforts to administer Utah’s STEP Grant program. “I have seen firsthand Utah small businesses increase global trade and commerce with a STEP Grant and I am excited to see what the coming year will bring in regards to international expansion through this massive increase in our STEP grant funding.”

“These funds provide such an amazing opportunity for small businesses to compete and grow in a global market,” Trollan said. “We are very appreciative of everything the World Trade Center does for Utah businesses and are excited that these increased resources will allow them to extend their reach and assist many more Utah businesses.”

Small businesses can apply to receive STEP Grant support to offset a wide range of costs associated with pursuing international sales: e.g. designing international marketing; using services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce; website optimization, localization, and translation; travel costs for foreign market sales trips; and participating in foreign trade missions, trade show exhibitions and export training programs.

“As a result of receiving the STEP Grant we were able to expand our products into Canada by adding Dual language (French) onto our packaging. Where previously we had been unable to do so. We have been expanding our presence in Canada and could not have done so without WTC Utah and the STEP Grant,” said Mindy Waite, CEP-Co Founder of Harvest Lane Honey.

“Utah is home to a large number of small businesses expanding and doing business globally. This grant will be a huge help to many of them,” said Dan Hemmert, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. “Thanks to the U.S. Small Business Administration for funding the STEP grant and World Trade Center Utah for administering the funds.”

Exporting is an important tool for U.S. small businesses to grow revenue and boost local economies. STEP is designed to assist states with increasing the number of small businesses that export and the value of those exports. Since 2010, STEP has awarded approximately $4 million in grants to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.

World Trade Center Utah STEP Grant applications for FY 21 will open on October 1, 2021, and Utah businesses are encouraged to apply at wtcutah.com. If you have any questions about eligibility or accepted activities, please contact Nicole Sherwood, WTC Utah STEP Project Director, at (801) 599-9185 or nsherwood@wtcutah.com.