State Trade Expansion


Grants made to state governments to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and increase the value of exports for those small businesses that export.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Small Business Administration
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 No current data available 18850000
Fiscal Year 2017 No current data available
Fiscal Year 2018 No data available
Fiscal Year 2022 In FY 2022, the SBA assisted nearly 1,800 small businesses through STEP grants. On average, STEP grants provided a $43 million return on investment. For more information about SBA accomplishments, access the SBA Congressional Budget Justification and Annual Performance Report:
Small Business Act, Section 22(l) (15 U.S.C. 649(l)), Section 1207, Public Law 111-240
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
States, defined as the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Not applicable.
Documentation must include designation by the State Governor or his/her designee that the applicant is the sole entity responsible for conducting the state's export activities.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The proposal must be submitted via
Award Procedure
SBA Headquarters executes grants to approved state applicants. Refer to STEP Program Announcement.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Prior to the end of the Federal fiscal year (i.e., September 30th).
Discretionary awards; no appeal opportunity.
Eligible applicants may apply each year of the program.
How are proposals selected?
Awards are competitive. Selection is made based on the eligible applicant's written ability to meet the criteria stated in the program announcement in a merit-based, competitive award process with other eligible applicants; and the applicants ability to match funds.
How may assistance be used?
Funds are restricted to export promotion activities that assist eligible small business concerns.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
The legislation requires SBA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) to conduct a review that determines the extent the recipients of grants are measuring the performance of activities, the results of the measurements, and the overall management and effectiveness of the program.
The SBA/Office of International Trade shall maintain detailed, complete, and accurate activity records of sufficiency to reflect clearly the nature and variety of State Trade Expansion Program trade promotion activities that are conducted to benefit small businesses. Financial records will be maintained until 3 years after the completion of the grant period.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is voluntary. The 10 states with the highest percentage of exporters that are small business concerns based upon the latest data available from the Department of Commerce shall receive no more than 40 percent of the total Federal Fiscal year appropriation. The Federal Share of project cost for a State that has a high export volume will be 65%. The Federal share of project cost for a State that does not have a high export volume will be 75%. (The Associate Administrator for the SBA Office of International Trade will determine which States are high volume). The State must match the remainder of project cost. The match must be comprised of not less than 50% cash and not more than 50% of in-kind contributions. Matching funds may not be derived from any Federal program.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Grants are limited to 2 years. Reference STEP Program Announcement; STEP Merit-based Review Process.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Appendix IV of the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under Small Business Administration.
Headquarters Office
Shadetra Robinson, Director, STEP
409 3rd St., SW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC, DC 20416 US
Phone: 202-205-6752
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 22$24,320,527.00; FY 23 est $20,000,000.00; FY 24 est $19,500,000.00; FY 21$16,014,296.00; FY 20$19,000,000.00; FY 19$18,150,000.00; FY 18$18,000,000.00; FY 17$18,000,000.00; FY 16$18,850,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Not applicable/available.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Reference STEP Program Announcement
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2022 The SBA partners with states and territories through its State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to support small business export development, including participation in trade missions and foreign market sales trips, export trade shows, international marketing efforts, and export training. The grants help increase capacity for exporting with specific objectives to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export, increase the dollar value of exports, and increase the number of U.S. small businesses exploring significant new trade opportunities.


Related Federal Grants

Federal Grants Resources