The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded $150,000 to the World Trade Center Arkansas as a part of the State Trade Expansion Program grant initiative. The STEP grant program’s objectives are to help eligible small business concerns enter into and succeed in the international marketplace.
The World Trade Center Arkansas will use the grant funds to help increase the number of eligible small businesses that are exporting from the state and to increase the value of current Arkansas small business exports in line with the Small Business Administration guidelines.
“The STEP grant has been one of our most successful services in the past,” said Trish Watkins, assistant director of grants and finance for the World Trade Center Arkansas. “With previous STEP grant funds, Arkansas companies were able to offset initial costs for expanding their international sales. These funds allowed them to attend trade shows, open up new markets and create new partnerships that have generated millions of dollars in international sales.”
The STEP grant will be used for various expenses such as international trade missions and trade shows, website translations, export training and Department of Commerce Gold Key Matching services.
“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with the Small Business Administration and for their choosing us to administer these grant funds,” said Dan Hendrix, president and chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Arkansas. “Small business concerns are extremely important for our state’s economy. They make up 80 percent of all exporting companies in Arkansas and they generate nearly 20 percent of total exported goods. So we are highly dedicated to helping eligible small businesses grow their exports.”
Companies that are interested in receiving STEP grant funds are encouraged to visit arwtc.org/step and read the application guidelines to determine their eligibility. They can contact Watkins through email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The Center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.