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Kentucky Awarded Grant To Boost Small Business Exports


Kentucky’s small businesses are getting more help to take their products global.

The Small Business Administration has announced that the Commonwealth will receive a $300,000 State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant, designed to encourage and boost international trade among the Commonwealth’s small businesses.

“Small businesses are a significant job creator and driver of Kentucky’s economy,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “Through this STEP grant, these businesses will have even more opportunities to build relationships, increase sales and explore global markets.”

The STEP program has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export.

This is the third round of funding offered through the program. Kentucky received a $276,000 grant during the second phase in 2012 and $427,000 for the first round in 2011.

The 2014 awards provide resources for states to make it more cost effective for small businesses to participate in international trade missions, sales trips and subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In addition, the funds assist companies with international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program.

“Kentucky companies have much unexplored potential when it comes to exporting,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “Small companies, in particular, often don’t realize how accessible and profitable exporting can be with the right assistance. This grant will support our efforts to help small businesses reach their full potential.”

The STEP grant is directly aligned with the goals of the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI), launched in 2010 by Governor Steve Beshear. KEI was formed to streamline and elevate the state’s efforts to help Kentucky businesses reach global markets.

Last year, the Commonwealth exported nearly $26 billion in products to more than 200 countries, the third consecutive year of record growth. Gov. Beshear also has led economic development trade missions to the United Kingdom and Canada in the past two years.

Story provided by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development