NC Step Program Application Now Available to Help Grow Foreign Trade

Attention Transylvania County small businesses, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina has announced another year of funding for the North Carolina STEP Program.  The EDPNC, in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides funding to qualifying small businesses to offset costs associated with exporting.  STEP funds assist companies with: participating in foreign trade shows and trade missions; optimizing websites to attract foreign buyers; translating marketing materials to reach a broader audience; obtaining services to support foreign market entry; and attending select export education courses throughout the program year.

Program Flyer can be accessed here.

STEP Year 7 program offerings include:

  • up to $5,000 toward Booth reimbursement for international trade shows (booth cannot be shared; company’s name must be listed in the exhibitor directory; domestic shows do not qualify for booth reimbursement; booth can be paid up to 12 months in advance of the event)
  • up to $3,000 toward Travel reimbursement (covers 1 or 2 company employees combined; company must be a registered exhibitor and listed in the show’s directory; domestic shows only qualify if they are on the International Buyer Program (IBP) list; travel reimbursement is limited to airfare adherent to the Fly America Act and lodging up to the per diem rate for the city/month of travel; companies who join an EDPNC booth may receive travel funding)
  • up to $2,000 toward Export Service reimbursement (includes most services offered through the US Commercial Service office; includes translation of website and/or marketing materials; includes website optimization)
  • attendance at various Export Education seminars across the state (NAFTA, Export Compliance, Intellectual Property Rights, etc.)
  • participation in a Motorsports trade mission to the UK in January

All activities must be approved by the STEP program before they are executed or paid for, and booth & travel reimbursement cannot be used on the same event.  Funding requests require cost-estimate attachments to be sent along with your application.  Qualifying activities/events must take place during the STEP Program year, which runs September 30, 2018 – September 29, 2019.

Eligible companies must: be organized or incorporated in the US; operate in the state of North Carolina; meet the SBA’s size standards for a Small Business Concern; have been in business for no less than 1 year; be in good standing with the federal government (have not been debarred); and have access to sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade.

Interested parties should reach out directly to Jen Vogelsberg (919.447.7778) STEP Program Manager with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina for further information and a program application.

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