Massachusetts State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program 
Readiness Assessment and Application

The Massachusetts 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 and Export Promotion Grant Program (“STEP Program”).  MOITI, through a grant from the United States 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 $10,000 per business to reimburse for costs associated with projects, activities or services undertaken during the period September 30, 2012 to September 30, 2013. Each grant recipient will be required to provide a match to cover at least 25% of the total approved cost for any project, activity or service (the “Match”).

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 but not limited to: (1) foreign trade show and conference participation; (2) MOITI and/or U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”) sponsored trade missions; (3) use of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Gold Key service and other DOC services; (4) foreign business-to-business matchmaking services; (5) translation and product localization-related services, including compliance with foreign regulatory requirements; and, (6) targeted advertising in overseas industry trade publications.  Grant proceeds will not cover certain activities, including but not limited to: routine business operation and infrastructure-related expenses, attendance at domestic trade shows and conferences, travel expenses, and staffing related costs.

Following completion and submission of the Readiness Assessment & Application (“Application”), MOITI and MEC shall review all applications. MOITI will notify eligible applicants in writing of entry into the STEP Consultation Period.  During the STEP Consultation Period, MOITI and MEC will consult with the applicant and review the applicant’s international business marketing plan and the applicant’s specific request for reimbursement.  In awarding grants, MOITI and MEC will consider the following: likelihood that the project/initiative will lead to new or increased export sales of goods and services; likelihood that the project/initiative will lead to job creation in Massachusetts; and, the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to increasing export sales of its good or services.

MOITI will accept submissions for consideration during the following two application periods: (1) November 30, 2012 – February 28, 2013; and, (2) March 1, 2013 – May 30, 2013. Applicants not accepted in the first application period may reapply in the second period.

Eligibility

To qualify for STEP program funding, companies or firms must be profitable and meet the U.S. Small Business Administration definition of small business as provided in 13 C.F.R. Part 121.

For further information on SBA’s definition of a small business please visit: http://www.sba.gov/content/what-sbas-definition-small-business-concern

Required for Application

Companies wishing to apply for STEP funding must submit an online application and the proposed project, service or activity for which funding is being requested must occur between September 30, 2012 and September 30, 2013.

STEP Grant Application Webinars

The STEP Grant Application Webinars will be running to help businesses prepare their international marketing plans in support of their STEP grant applications. Details at the following link:  http://www.mass.gov/export/events.htm#step

Calendar - Important Dates to Know

  • "STEP 2013" Time Span – September 30, 2012 – September 30, 2013
  • Application Period 2 – March 1, 2013 – May 30, 2013
  • Regional Briefings:
    • April 11, 2013 @ 8:00-10:00 AM--North Central Chamber of Commerce, 860 South Street, Fitchburg
    • April 30, 2013 @ 8:00 AM—Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, 110 Church St, Whitinsville
    • May 7, 2013 @ 12:00 PM - Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, 5  Patti Page Way, Centerville

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), and trade show/conference badge where applicable.

Please complete your application electronically and submit online

If you have any questions, please call 617-830-5409 or email STEP@moiti.org