World Trade Center Utah will administer grant funding on behalf of the state.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT (September 19, 2023) — Utah has received $500,000 to support export growth among small businesses thanks to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). The grant aims to enhance global success for Utah companies and is administered by World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (GOEO).
Utah’s small businesses engaged internationally or planning for global expansion are encouraged to apply for the SBA STEP Grant. The funds can be utilized in a variety of ways, including financing international business trips; developing international marketing materials; using services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce; optimizing, localizing, and translating marketing for global audiences; covering travel expenses for foreign-market sales trips; and participating in trade missions and shows as well as export training programs designed to support international growth.
“We’re incredibly pleased with the collaboration between the SBA Utah District Office and WTC Utah in supporting our state’s small businesses on their international journeys,” said Marla Trollan, SBA Utah District director. “WTC Utah’s exceptional work in assisting small businesses has once again been recognized through this SBA STEP Grant award. This underscores their dedication to helping Utah businesses expand globally. Together, we continue to empower Utah businesses to thrive in the international arena, and we look forward to the continued success of this partnership.”
In a world where 95% of consumers and two-thirds of purchasing power are located outside the United States, this grant program plays a crucial role for Utah businesses. It opens doors for businesses to access additional capital, expand their market reach, and discover new clients on the global stage.
More than 13,000 companies nationwide have received SBA STEP Grant funding since its inception 11 years ago. Utah has one of the most diverse economies in the U.S. and companies across various sectors — including aerospace and defense, consumer goods, life sciences, and outdoor — have leveraged SBA STEP Grants to fuel their international expansion. Over the past two years, more than 120 Utah companies have been awarded grants, and they have reported $90 million in new trade opportunities for the state.*
One success story in Utah’s business landscape is Pingora, an outdoor brand that has utilized the SBA STEP Grant to attend the past three ISPO Munich trade shows. “While at ISPO, we met a new partner from Japan which just resulted in a hugely successful launch of our brand in Tokyo,” shared C.J. Whittaker, Pingora’s founder. “Before learning about the STEP Grant and the Utah booth, we didn’t think that exhibiting at ISPO would be an option for us this early in our growth, and now the show allows us to connect with our global contacts each year while finding new partners and growing our brand internationally.”
Companies approved for the grant receive a financial award that covers 75% of their travel and lodging expenses. Alongside other Utah companies in the outdoor industry, Pingora has showcased its product in the state of Utah booth, which is fully covered by the grant and organized by WTC Utah.
“This generous contribution from the SBA acts as a catalyst for Utah companies wanting to access global sales channels,” shared WTC Utah President and CEO Jonathan Freedman. “We can help anyone wanting to sell a product or service abroad. WTC Utah and GOEO team up and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to meet customers by attending international trade missions and shows. Companies already working internationally with expansion goals can also benefit from SBA STEP funding.”
The SBA STEP Grant has provided vital financial support and essential business services to Utah's small businesses, enabling them to not only compete but excel in global markets. Last year alone, Utah companies that received SBA STEP Grant funding were able to explore and pursue opportunities across Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and many other regions. This grant signifies a transformative opportunity for Utah's small businesses to thrive in the global marketplace.
The grant application is now open to Utah companies, and you can find more information at wtcutah.com/grants. For inquiries regarding eligibility or accepted activities, please contact email@example.com.
*New Trade Opportunities (NTO) = $ Actual Sales and/or Sourcing + $ Prospective Sales and/or Sourcing + $ Actual Investment for Utah businesses resulting from trade and/or investment activity and as reported by businesses in client impact statements