BATON ROUGE — The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded Louisiana $200,000 for grants to small businesses seeking to market goods and services to foreign customers. Grants in the State Trade Expansion Program, or STEP, are designed to help small businesses gain the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities.
Louisiana Economic Development will administer the grants with goals of increasing the number of new small business exporters and boosting the sales of established exporters in Louisiana. LED is one of 41 state and U.S. territory agencies participating in the federal program for the 2019-2021 program cycle.
“STEP grants can create an effective means of engagement for Louisiana companies that want to develop foreign markets for their products and services,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “If we can help Louisiana companies find business contacts in other countries, we can help them to increase and diversify their customer base. As that process unfolds, businesses can build on their success by creating and retaining local jobs.”
The Louisiana program will reimburse allowable travel, registration and exhibit expenses on the following: domestic or foreign trade shows; inbound or outbound trade missions; participation in export training workshops; U.S. Commercial Service user fees; and other activities. Grants may reimburse up to 75 percent for new-to-export companies and up to 50 percent for market expansion companies. The program will offer assistance of up to $6,333 per company.
American Pollution Control Corp., an environmental remediation company based in New Iberia, Louisiana, took part in international trade shows in Cairo, Egypt, and Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, earlier this year with the help of STEP grants.
“LED support and funding is very much appreciated,” said Salah Mansour, AMPOL’s international business development manager. “Our efforts in Egypt helped us to receive a couple of purchase orders and invitations to bid on a few inquiries, and we are exploring opportunities of partnering with the Egyptian Petroleum Safety and Environmental Authority. In Mexico, our company won a two-year oil spill emergency services contract from a subsidiary of Eni, the Italian energy company.”
For more information or to apply for the Louisiana program, visit the STEP grant page on LED’s website.