Feds STEP in, promising support for Illinois small-business exports
Small businesses in Illinois hoping to increase exports could see a boost after the Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) received a $890,000 federal grant from the federal State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) recently, according to a press release.
Sean McCarthy, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDOC), said the grant, awarded to STEP by the Small Business Administration (SBA), will help businesses expand into a global market.
“In our increasingly global economy, companies looking to grow need to look beyond domestic markets,” McCarthy said in the release. “Less than one percent of U.S. companies currently export, making foreign markets a huge growth opportunity for Illinois small businesses. STEP will allow the Illinois Department of Commerce to continue to help Illinois companies explore new markets and grow their businesses abroad and at home.”
Illinois, the largest exporter in the Midwest and fifth largest nationwide, has received $4.8 million in STEP funding since 2011. The state exported $59.7 billion in goods in 2016.
Businesses wishing to obtain financial aid or export assistance can apply to participate in Illinois’ Step Trade Participation (ISTEP) program. Eligible companies will be able to participate in various sales and trade missions to amplify their presence in the global market or receive general education in the global export industry.
The grant will be incorporated into the state’s 2018 fiscal, according to OTI Director Margo Markopoulos.
For more information, go to: www.exports.illinois.gov.