State of South Carolina receives U.S. Small Business Administration grant for seventh year
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Commerce has been awarded a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for the seventh year. This program is designed to support and encourage small business export success. The state was awarded its full requested amount of $360,400.
“With eight consecutive record years in total export sales, Team South Carolina understand that tremendous opportunities exist for our companies overseas,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “We are grateful to the U.S. Small Business Administration for once again awarding our state with this grant, which will allow us to support South Carolina firms seeking to expand their reach to new markets around the globe.”
An essential component of the state's economic development efforts, S.C. Commerce continues to expand its export initiatives. In 2014, in an effort to build on the success of its own STEP program, the agency created South Carolina Opportunities for Promoting Exports, or SCOPE. Over the last six years, these two programs have generated more than $101 million in export sales, helping South Carolina companies sell products to 63 countries around the world.
“Over 98 percent of businesses that export in South Carolina are small businesses, and the need for exporting assistance continues to grow within the state,” said Gregg White, district director for the SBA South Carolina District Office. “The SBA’s STEP grant will enable the S.C. Department of Commerce to expand its reach in supporting small businesses looking to expand in international markets. We look forward to witnessing the growth and success that continues to come from this program.”
Projected to help more than 60 small and medium-sized businesses seize export opportunities this year, the grant funding reimburses a portion of business participation in upcoming S.C. Commerce trade missions to Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, Korea and Mexico; major trade exhibitions, such as the Paris Air Show and Arab Health; and, involvement in U.S. Commercial Service programs, such as Trade Winds Indo Pacific.
“We at the Commercial Service are excited to support the state to continue to help companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, diversify their markets, grow their supply chains and create jobs for South Carolinians,” said South Carolina Director for the U.S. Commercial Service Dorette Coetsee.
S.C. Commerce also provides a variety of other programs and services, including assisting both new and experienced exporters with on-site counseling, developing market entry strategies, administering export training and connecting companies with appropriate partners and resources. For more information on S.C. Commerce’s export assistance program, click here.