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State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)    
DEADLINE: Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis depending on selected activity and eligibility.

Applicants are encouraged to submit complete applications at least 5 weeks in advance of international travel, or 3 weeks in advance for other activities. If you plan to use Stipend funds for airfare expenses, your application must be submitted at least 6 weeks in advance of the first day of travel. The sooner you submit your application, the better your chance of receiving funds.



The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) received a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. TDA will administer the STEP program through partnerships that include the Office of the Governor’s Economic Development and Tourism Division and the U.S. Department of Commerce. No other federal funds will be matched against this award.

Purpose:
The program’s objectives are to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting, and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting. The STEP program will take the necessary steps to create or expand their export capacity and provide financial assistance along the way to help them achieve success.

Texas’ STEP program will encompass recruitment, training and planning, and execution of export trade activities; including trade show involvement and assist with small business export development.

Eligibility:
Texas-based small businesses that: 1) meets SBA “Eligible Small Business Concern” size guidelines; 2) is not debarred from federal funding; 3) has a product/service manufactured, produced, processed or value-added in Texas; 4) has been in business for at least one year at the time of application; and 5) has demonstrated understanding of the costs associated with exporting.

STEP clients that have a current 2016, open grant may not receive a new award during this cycle. If your 2016 grant is closed you are eligible to apply. 



What STEP Offers:   

To incentivize companies to enter new international markets and provide the customized assistance needed, TDA will provide post-completion reimbursement of expenditures to eligible businesses for approved export activities which include the following:


 Export Stipends (Stipends are available for a 75% of the activity unless a maximum is identified below.)
* U.S. Commercial Services Programs (Gold Key Matching, International Partner Search, Initial Market Check, International Company Profile or Business Facilitation Service)
* Compliance testing for an existing product for entry into an export market (reimbursement capped at $2,000)
* Design of marketing media for foreign audience
* Export counseling/training programs
* Fees for shipping sample products (reimbursement capped at $2,000)
* Non-state coordinated participation in trade missions, trade shows or sales trips (eligible costs include registration fees, booth space, foreign language translation, airfare , ground transportation and lodging expenses)
* Subscription to Export Research tool (reimbursement capped at $1,000)
* Website translation, search engine optimization, localization services (reimbursement capped at $3,000)
Domestics IBP (International Buyer Program) shows, or shows that have a significant amount of foreign participation.
Discover Global Market events


State sponsored trade show participation
(Turn-key exhibit space at the trade show and interpreters. Applicant will be responsible for foreign travel expenses. Each show has a separate deadline, for questions regarding the deadlines of each show please contact the respective agencies.) 
Texas Department of Agriculture Sponsored
* Expo Antad & Alimentaria (March 5 – 7, 2018) in Guadalajara, Mexico, is one of the largest trade  shows for food and beverages.
* Ildex Vietnam 2018 (March 14 – 16, 2018) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, aims to support the development of livestock, dairy, meat processing and aquaculture businesses.
* SIAL Trade Show (May 16-18, 2018), in Shanghai, China is Asia’s largest food innovation exhibition and showcases domestic and international producers and manufacturers of food products, wine and spirits, and food service equipment.
Texas Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism Sponsored
For more information visit: click on the blue hyperlink below or https://businessintexas.com/about/events
Hannover Messe (April 23 -27, 2018), located in Hanover, Germany, showcases product from automotive, electronics & electrical goods, industrial products, tools, plant, machinery & equipment, manufacturing, fabrication, repair & maintenance industries.
Farnborough International Airshow (July 16 – 22, 2018), is an international aviation and aerospace exhibition located outside of London, England, highlighting the newest technologies of the aerospace industry and related equipment, such as aircraft engines, satellite navigation technology, aircraft cabins, seats and weapons systems will be presented at this show.

State sponsored trade mission (financial assistance will include Gold Key Matching, meetings, and interpreter.  Applicant will be responsible for all other foreign travel expenses through the stipend process.)
* Beef Australia 2018 (May 6 – 12, 2018) Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
* Brangus show (June 1-7, 2018) Resistencia, Argentina


Funded in part through a Grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
 
Application Materials
 
 
Contact
STEP - Project Managers

Emmy Wilson

Grant Specialist - Primary Contact
(512) 463-2537
Grants@TexasAgriculture.gov

Brenda Tharp

Grant Coordinator
(512) 463-6695
Grants@TexasAgriculture.gov



STEP - Administration

Mindy Fryer
STEP Project Director
Grants@TexasAgriculture.gov