Office of International Trade and Investment ("MOITI"), in
collaboration with the Massachusetts Small Business Development
Center Network ("MSBDC") and the Massachusetts Export Center, is pleased
to announce the Massachusetts State Trade Expansion
Program ("STEP"). MOITI, through a grant from the
U.S. Small Business Administration ("SBA"), will provide
grants to eligible Massachusetts small businesses for the purpose
of increasing export sales of their goods and services.
Grants under the STEP program will be capped
at $12,000 per business to reimburse for costs associated with
pre-approved projects, activities or services undertaken during the period
October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019. Each grant recipient
will be required to provide a match to cover at least a portion of
the total approved cost for any project, activity or service (the
"Match"). New-to-export firms have a 25% match
requirement and all other firms have a 40% match requirement.
The STEP Program is intended to help offset
international business development and related marketing costs for
small businesses. Grant proceeds may be used for specific
international business development and marketing costs, including:
Overseas trade show or conference
exhibition and directly related expenses (e.g., booth space,
shipping charges, carnets, attendance in conjunction with
exhibiting, space to deliver technical sales seminars, etc.)
(shipping costs capped at $2,000 per company);
U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Key and
other in-country services;
Government-organized foreign trade
missions with a business matchmaking element;
Cost of compliance testing an existing
product for entry into an export market ($3,000 cap per
Design of export market-specific marketing
media (including design and translation of brochures, targeted
advertising in industry-appropriate media, etc. — does not
include printing) ($3,000 cap per company);
Localization of websites for target export
markets (including translation of websites, technical
localization, and search engine optimization for export
markets) ($3,000 cap per company).
Grant proceeds will not
cover certain activities, including but not limited to: routine
business operation and infrastructure-related expenses, domestic trade shows and conferences, travel expenses, staffing related costs,
and more. Applications for vague or ineligible activities will be
Click here for details on eligible and ineligible activities.
Following completion and submission of the
Readiness Assessment & Application ("Application"), the
Massachusetts Export Center shall review all applications. MOITI
will notify eligible applicants in writing of entry into the STEP
Consultation Period. During the STEP Consultation Period, the Massachusetts Export Center will consult with the
applicant and review the applicant's international business
marketing plan and the applicant's specific request for
reimbursement. In scoring applications and awarding grants, the Massachusetts Export Center will consider the following: the applicant's financial strength and ability to sustain export
sales beyond the grant period; the applicant's demonstrated
commitment to increasing export sales; likelihood that the
STEP-funded activity will lead to new or increased export sales;
likelihood that the STEP-funded activity will lead to job creation
and economic impact; and that STEP-funded activity meet the needs
of the applicant and will provide for long-term growth.
Click here to download a sample copy of the STEP application
questions. All grant applications must be submitted online by
clicking on the "Apply Now" button on this page.
funding for the 2018-2019 Massachusetts STEP program has not yet
been appropriated. Applicants must complete and submit their
applications with the understanding that there is a risk that the
program will not be funded. Applicants must also understand that
grant awards are made on a competitive basis.
Applications will be accepted for consideration during the
following application period: August 7 - September 30, 2018. All
applications must be received by the deadline of Sunday, September
30, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
Eligibility: To qualify for
STEP program funding, a business must meet the definition of an
"eligible small business concern" under Section 503 of the
Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.
to view the official definition. Verification is the burden of the
Required for application:
Companies wishing to apply for STEP funding must submit an online
application. The proposed project, service or activity for which
funding is requested must occur between October 1, 2018 and
September 30, 2019.
Required for disbursement of grant
proceeds: In order to receive reimbursement, a company
must present proof of payment for the related project, activity or
service, including but not limited to, a copy of paid invoice(s),
cancelled checks, paid credit card statements and other related
documentation as required. Companies must also be able to document
payment against their match requirement. Full details on
reimbursement requirements will be included as part of the
contract package sent to grant awardees.
Please note: There is no
advantage for early applicants. We encourage you to
participate in the
Massachusetts Export Center's STEP Grant Application Webinar
on September 21, 2018 and compile a thorough, thoughtful and
strategic application for the greatest chance of approval. See
details on the webinar below.
You may save your application and come back
to complete it at a later date. You will have 72 hours to return
to the application to complete it. Please note that this function
is browser-based, so you must start and finish the application on
the same computer. Please enable cookies on your computer as a
cookie will be stored on your computer to continue the application
where you left off. We suggest that you complete the
application on a computer rather than a mobile device.
For questions on the STEP application process,
please contact the Massachusetts Export Center at 617-973-8664. Thank you!
The Massachusetts Export Center will offer a free
webinar about the STEP program on Friday, September 21
from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The webinar discusses the
parameters of the Massachusetts STEP program and
walks participants through the STEP application
process. Click here
for further details & registration.
Please complete your application
electronically and submit online with link below.
The application deadline is Sunday,
September 30 at 5:00 p.m. EST.