Raleigh, N.C.

North Carolina has received a $749,225 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support export growth among North Carolina’s small businesses, North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The grant extends the state’s support for North Carolina companies seeking to grow their business by selling products to international buyers.

“In an ever-increasing competitive global economy, we need to provide small firms with the necessary resources to succeed,” said Secretary Copeland. “Last year North Carolina reported $30 billion in exports. This grant will help our small businesses expand their markets, grow their businesses, and create new jobs.”

The grant was authorized by the federal Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, under the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). STEP funding will be allocated to enhance participating companies’ export capacity over the next year. “These awards will provide a solid foundation for small businesses, and set them up for success," said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, an alumna from East Carolina University.

North Carolina is a long-time participant in the STEP program, and has taken great strides in export sales and successes among small businesses throughout the state since the program’s inception. North Carolina’s STEP program has assisted small businesses over 900 times since 2011, resulting more than $400 million in reported sales. These new exports will help create or support new jobs for the years ahead.

“It would have taken months of research and emails and expensive travel to accomplish what we did in four days,” said Alan Davis of Blue Ridge Chair Works in Franklin. “The STEP program has allowed us to create tremendous momentum in our quest for global domination in furniture for outdoor active living.”

The North Carolina STEP grant will be used to continue and expand an export assistance initiative called N.C. Passport to Export, managed by the International Trade Division of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. The program leverages the resources of local, state, and federal partners to reach more small and medium size North Carolina companies. NC Passport to Export provides companies access to participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

For more information on the NC Passport to Export program, contact Mike Hubbard, Director, International Trade Division at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina at (919) 447-7757.

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