Small companies in Pennsylvania are set to get some help in growing their exports.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will receive a $2.35 million State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant from the Small Business Administration to help the state’s small businesses sell their goods and services to international markets. According to the DCED the goal of the STEP initiative is to boost the number of companies shipping goods and services overseas and the value of those exports.
Department spokesman Steve Kratz says the grant will help fund the program further its success in aiding small businesses with their international ventures.
"The program is tailored to help Pennsylvania businesses identify viable markets and tap into those markets to maximize their production and sales,” Kratz said
Kratz says Pennsylvania companies set a record for exports in the 2011-12 fiscal year, up $300 million in revenues from the previous year. According to the U.S. Commerce Department the commonwealth ranks seventh in small business exporting in the nation and two thirds of those small businesses in Pennsylvania have less than 20 employees. Overall, the biggest buyer of Pennsylvania goods and services is Canada.
“Just our program alone assisted over 280 client firms reporting more than $831 million in sales of goods and services to overseas customers last year,” Kratz said.
The department's Center for Trade Development will organize business delegations for 18 trade missions and shows around the world and market research into how to help qualified Pennsylvania companies benefit from new trade agreements with Korea, Columbia and Panama.