McAuliffe announces $255,000 federal grant to support international trade program in Virginia

virginiaVirginia has received $255,000 in grant funding to support the Commonwealth’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program.

The STEP program, funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, is designed to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting. This year’s grant will be administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s International Trade Division.

“Supporting the expansion of existing businesses of all sizes is critical to Virginia’s economic vitality, and the STEP program assists small companies with entry and growth in the global marketplace,” said Governor McAuliffe. “International trade remains a key component of the new Virginia economy, and I am pleased that this grant funding will allow the program to reach more of the Commonwealth’s valued businesses, providing a vehicle to increase export sales.”

This year’s STEP grant will support travel to international markets on trade missions, trade shows, or companies’ independent international sales trips. The grant will generate international sales for Virginia’s small businesses by providing opportunities for face-to-face meetings with potential customers and partners.

“Exporting goods and services can be a key component of an effective business growth strategy, and this additional funding will help open the door for more Virginia small businesses to reach international markets,”said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore.  “Last year, Virginia companies exported products and services valued at more than $34 billion to 214 countries, and we are committed to helping companies of every size in Virginia contribute to this momentum with the assistance of the U.S. Small Business Administration through the STEP program.”

More than 60 small businesses in the Commonwealth participated in the STEP program in 2016-2017. The funds enabled companies to participate in international trade missions and trade shows, and conduct market visits throughout the world.

For more information on the STEP grant program, please visit

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