Colorado receives federal funds to promote export efforts

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Colorado will receive $329,517 in federal funding to help the state’s small businesses export goods and services.

The grant is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion program. The Colorado STEP program, administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, supports small businesses with export development efforts and helps companies compete in a global marketplace.

STEP was launched last year under the Small Business Jobs Act and aims to achieve two goals: increase the number of small businesses that want to export; and increase the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export.

“We have achieved impressive results across Colorado with this grant,” said Ken Lund, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “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.”

This year’s STEP funding will help further support the needs of Colorado companies in reaching a global customer base, Lund said.

The 2012 Colorado STEP program is based on four key strategies that officials hope will strengthen and leverage the state’s existing export promotion foundation and partnerships.

The goal is to increase the number of small businesses that receive export assistance from the state and directly grow export sales for Colorado small businesses.  Officials will focus on export readiness training for new-to-export companies, export market development stipend programs that will help offset qualified business development costs for small and medium enterprise exporters and key industry trade missions/shows that promote Colorado industry clusters to grow export sales in target markets.

Additionally, officials will focus on export technical assistance and analysis tools that will help OEDIT perform customized market research for small and medium enterprises and provide valuable market intelligence which can remove many barriers to exporting.

For details go to SBA’s website.