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Colorado Receives Funds to Promote Small Business Exports

DENVER ­— Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 —Colorado will receive $329,517 in federal funding to help the state’s small businesses export their goods and services as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration's State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program. The Colorado STEP Program, administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), supports small businesses with export development efforts and helps companies compete in a global marketplace.

The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) initiative, launched last year under the Small Business Jobs Act, is aimed at achieving two goals: 1) increase the number of small businesses that want to export and 2) increase the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export.

“We have achieved impressive results across Colorado with this grant. Last year Colorado’s STEP funded programs helped 80 small businesses in realizing actual sales of $3.5 million and projected sales of $58 million – an incredible return on investment from the federal share of $312, 000,” said Ken Lund, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “This year’s STEP funding will help us further support the needs of Colorado companies in reaching a global customer base."

The 2012 Colorado STEP program is based on four key strategies that will strengthen and leverage the state’s existing export promotion foundation and partnerships to significantly increase the number of small businesses that receive export assistance from the State and directly grow export sales for Colorado small businesses.  The four key strategies are: Export Readiness Training for new-to-export companies with special outreach to rural, veteran and woman-owned small businesses; Export Market Development Stipend Programs that will help offset qualified business development costs for SME exporters; Key Industry Trade Missions/Shows that promote Colorado industry clusters to grow export sales in target markets; and Export Technical Assistance and Analysis Tools that will help OEDIT perform customized market research for SMEs and provide valuable market intelligence which can remove many barriers to exporting. 

The Colorado STEP Program will build on many established partnerships to meet these objectives.  OEDIT will leverage the resources of and actively coordinate with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Rocky Mountain Small Business Administration District Office, the Colorado Small Business Development Centers, the Denver U.S. Export Assistance Center, the World Trade Center Denver, local trade associations, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations to ensure availability of the STEP program services to targeted SMEs throughout Colorado. 

For more information about the SBA STEP program, please visit  http://www.sba.gov/content/state-trade-and-export-promotion-step-grants-pilot and for more information about state export assistance, please visit http://www.advancecolorado.com/international-business/exporting-colorado.