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NH Office of International Commerce Gets Funds to Expand Exporting
Published Monday, September 18, 2017

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that $18 million in funding has been awarded to 44 state international trade agencies through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), to support export growth among U.S. small businesses.
STEP is designed to increase both the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting. Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s small business strategy.
“The awards will provide a solid foundation for small businesses planning to enter and set them up for success,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon.
In 2010 U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH-D) created the STEP program. Since then the program has supported more than $1.1 billion in American small business exports, yielding a return-on-investment of 19 to 1 for taxpayers. The STEP program was extended through 2020 by Senator Shaheen in the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015.
The 2017 STEP awards will allow states to assist small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export related activities that are in line with the objectives of the program.  These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.
“New Hampshire’s thriving small businesses are developing innovative products that can be sold and shipped around the world. In fact, exporting and e-commerce offer a great opportunity for New Hampshire small businesses to not only reach foreign markets and the 95 percent of the world’s customers who live outside the United States, but to create high-quality jobs and bolster our economy back home,” said Shaheen.   
“This STEP award continues to highlight New Hampshire’s dedication to small business,” said Commissioner Taylor Caswell, of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs. “Over the years, this funding has provided opportunities for our small businesses to find global markets and we’ve continued to see that the world is very interested in what our companies have to offer. This grant represents the great efforts of our Office of International Commerce and the New Hampshire offices of the SBA and US Commercial Service.”
The 2017 award to NH represents a 25 percent increase over 2016. Greta Johansson, district director of the NH SBA office, said, “We are happy to continue our partnership with the State of New Hampshire and the Office of International Commerce and commend them for their creative and impactful use of this program to promote greater exporting opportunities for small companies throughout the state.”
The program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade. The STEP award in NH is managed by NH’s Office of International Commerce.   Information on the programs and initiatives to assist and expand the ranks of NH exporters can be found at their website www.nheconomy.com or by calling 603-271-8444.

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