For Immediate Release - October 18, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding Commitment to Support International Trade

Administration will match federal export funds to provide grant funding for small businesses to expand export activities

Fitchburg – October 18, 2016 – Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced a commitment of $672,637 in grant funds, to help Massachusetts small businesses grow by accessing international trade markets. The grant funds – a $504,478 grant awarded to Massachusetts by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Expansion Program (STEP), and a $168,159 matching contribution from the Commonwealth – will provide support to small businesses in Massachusetts as they pursue strategies to increase export activities.

“Supporting the growth of small businesses is a major focus of this administration’s economic development strategy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Many of the innovative consumer and business products created and manufactured in Massachusetts are ripe for export. Helping companies access foreign markets is one avenue where we can help champion the small businesses that form the backbone of our economy.”

“Opening new markets will strengthen small businesses here in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The economic development legislation we signed in August doubled our ability to help finance small business export activity. Now, these STEP grants will build the capacity of small businesses seeking to open new markets. By assisting small businesses in learning how to export, and increasing their exposure to international markets, we are giving small businesses in Massachusetts a global reach.”

The Baker-Polito Administration announced the opening of the 2016-2017 STEP grant round at Rocheleau Tool & Die Co., Inc., a Fitchburg manufacturer that participated in the 2015-2016 STEP program. The Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) will administer the STEP grant in partnership with the Massachusetts Export Center (MEC), and provide reimbursements to eligible Massachusetts small businesses for qualified export-promotion expenses. Supported activities may include trade show participation, overseas marketing, and localization services and subscription services from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Participating small businesses are also required to secure matching private funds. MOITI and MEC are currently accepting grant applications from businesses.

“In every region of the Commonwealth, businesses are producing goods that only Massachusetts can create, and ensuring that these small business have access to global markets is an important avenue for growth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Leveraging the ingenuity, and uniqueness of Massachusetts products and businesses will continue moving our economy forward, grow jobs and spread prosperity to every corner of the Commonwealth.”

"It's critical that our small business owners have access to the resources they need to create quality products and good-paying jobs," said Congressman Seth Moulton. "We know that expanding markets for American-made products abroad boosts paychecks and grows our economy here at home. These grants will directly support our small businesses by enabling them to broaden their export activities. As a member of the Small Business Committee, I'll continue working to ensure our small businesses have the tools and resources they deserve."

“These grant funds will support the growth of small businesses, whether they are new to exporting, or seeking to expand their export activities,” said Assistant Secretary of Business Development Nam Pham. “I look forward to continued partnerships with the U.S. Small Business Administration, as we work together to spread economic growth across the Commonwealth.”

“The STEP Grant is available to small businesses across Massachusetts,” said Paula Murphy, Director of the Massachusetts Export Center. “The funds are awarded on a competitive basis, and a well-planned international business strategy is critical for a grant award.”

“Last year’s STEP grant program was a great success, with over 60 Massachusetts small businesses using the grant funds to enhance their opportunities in the global marketplace” said MOITI Executive Director Mark F. Sullivan. “We look forward to continuing that success with this year’s grant round.”

For more information on the STEP grant program, or to apply for grant funding, please visit www.mass.gov/export/step.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.  www.sba.gov

About MOITI

The Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) is the Commonwealth’s primary international business development agency charged with promoting trade and investment with global partners in Massachusetts and around the world.  The office is dedicated to building successful international collaborations and partnerships essential to bringing new economic opportunities and investments to the Commonwealth.  MOITI’s mission is simple: strengthen the Massachusetts economy, create jobs and increase the Commonwealth’s international presence.  www.mass.gov/moiti

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