Looking to export? Your small business may be eligible for a grant through the SBA’s State Trade and Expansion Program (STEP). Through the STEP grant, your business may be eligible for reimbursement for costs incurred for trade show fees and related travel expenses, product sample shipments, export credit insurance feeds, translation services, company promotions/marketing plans and more. 

Review what the STEP grant covers. determine your eligibility, and apply.

Available Services for Eligible Export Clients*:

Download STEP Services.pdf

The Florida SBDC will use STEP funding to provide reimbursement of up to $2500 in export/trade show related travel costs for export clients attending approved trade/export related events. Allowable costs include airfare, lodging, trade show fees, transportation, & sample shipment fees (not to exceed $2000).

The trade show concierge service will offer export clients the opportunity to have a FL SBDC International Trade Business Consultant to accompany them to an eligible exporting/trade event for education/training, assessment, and support. STEP funding will cover up to $2500 in travel costs for each consultant to provide concierge services to eligible export clients.

The Florida SBDC will use STEP funding to support FL export clients participating in US Department of Commerce ITA (International Trade Administration) single company promotion. Eligible export clients will be reimbursed with up to $3000 in allowable costs. Under this service, US DOC/ITA organizes promotional events to reach US exporting companies’ preferred audiences and decision makers in international markets.

The FSBDC will reimburse export clients with up to $750 in allowable costs related to translation services in conjunction with attendance at trade show events. These services may include translation of digital assets, websites, printed marketing materials, order forms, product packaging, etc.

Reimbursement for application fees and export credit insurance coverage up to $2000 per client.

Customized Export Marketing Plan prepared by a certified FSBDC International Trade Consultant; each EMP includes a thorough readiness assessment, Industry/Market/SWOT analysis, review of trade opportunities, and an action plan. Export Marketing Plans are valued at $7,500. Operating as a partner of FSBDC, SelectFlorida, Inc. subsidizes $4,500 of that cost through the state international trade program, FSBDC utilizes STEP funding to cover $2,500 of the cost, and the export client would be responsible to pay a $500.00 fee. *FSBDC Trade Consultants will determine export client eligibility. Maximum total reimbursement cannot exceed $8000 per export client per 2-year funding period ($15,000 for export clients that execute an EMP during the same funding period). Reimbursement amount cannot exceed costs incurred.

Download STEP Eligibility.pdf

Federal funding guidelines state that to be eligible to receive monetary reimbursement using FL STEP funds, FSBDC consultants must verify the following for each export client. A company/firm meets and adheres to the following criteria:
  • Is organized or incorporated in the United States;
  • Is operating in the United States;
  • Size standard requirements: o The applicable industry-based small business size standard established under section 3 of the Small Business Act; or o 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.); o The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards are found at 13 C.F.R. Part121 or via the following link: https://www.sba.gov/document/support-table-size-standards
  • Has been in business for not less than 1 year, as of the date on which assistance using a grant under this subsection commences; and,
  • Has access to sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.
In addition, the following Florida-specific criteria will be included:
  • Must be listed as an Active Corporation on the Florida Division of Corporations Sunbiz website.
  • Must have a Federal Identification Number tied to a Florida address.
  • Must have a product/service manufactured, produced, processed or value-added in Florida. (SBA requires 51% US content)
  • Must be either “new to export” or “market expansion”; the event/activity must help them to enter a new market or segment, where they do not already have significant export sales.
  • Prospective export clients must be in business (domestically) for at least 2 years in order to be eligible for EMP - Export Marketing Plan services, as per funding agreement with SelectFlorida.
Proof of Payment & Completion of Eligible Service/Activity will be required prior to any reimbursement   For travel reimbursement:
  • Any costs incurred that would be considered "Local travel" are not reimbursable.
  • Airfare fees must be consistent with "Fly America Act" Guidelines.
  • Lodging rates cannot exceed GSA/State Dept per diem rates.
*Maximum reimbursable amounts for Trade Show Sample shipments $2000 & Virtual Trade show registration fees $500. Clients will not be reimbursed for any cost that has received or is pending financial support from SelectFlorida, Inc. **Concierge service travel costs are paid directly to the Consultant’s assigned SBDC and are not reimbursable to client FSBDC Trade Consultants will determine export client eligibility. New clients will be required to complete an Export Marketing Plan prior to receiving approval for additional STEP services. Maximum total reimbursement cannot exceed $8000 per export client per 2-year funding period or $15,000 for export clients that execute an EMP during the same funding period. Reimbursement amount cannot exceed actual costs incurred.

Apply Now

Featured Success Stories

Tree Trimmers
“Our consultants have been a tremendous level of support and they’re happy to see you succeed so it’s a win-win scenario.”

Pauline Sevigny, Grace Aerospace

Rob Olin
“Working with Selma at the Florida SBDC at USF, she told us about the STEP funds. We really had no idea that these were available to us. Starting with the export marketing plan and then working up on the website and having some of that paid for, takes a lot of the burden off.”

Tim Robinson, American Fabric Filter Company

Cope Notes
“Being able to connect with the FSBDC and take advantage of the Export Marketing Plan and the consulting services they offer was a huge help in getting us where we needed to be to export. Since connecting with the FSBDC, our export volume has increased by 400% and we’re expecting to grow even faster from there. We’ve been extremely lucky to have the support of the FSBDC. For any entrepreneur, I would highly recommend reaching out to them for the breadth of their services, their support, and the knowledge that they can provide.”

Jeff Woodson, CURIS System

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Funded [in part] through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.