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$800,000 Of Grant Funding Available To Increase International Sales For Montana’s Small Businesses

HELENA, Mont. -- The Montana Department of Commerce announced today that $800,000 of federal grant funding is available to help small Montana businesses accelerate and grow international sales. The federal funding, from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will be administered through Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).



“Montana made products reach far beyond our geographic borders and stand out on an international stage," said Scott Osterman, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “Commerce will continue to create and support economic opportunities for Montana businesses to access global markets and provide those businesses with support from Commerce’s export team.”


The STEP grant, through Commerce’s Export MT, will be used to support foreign trade missions, Montana Pavilions at international trade shows and other international marketing projects.



Eligible Montana exporters can apply for 50 percent reimbursement up to $10,000 for eligible marketing activities such as trade show exhibition, market research and U.S. commercial service programs and foreign language translation. Other eligible marketing activities include international compliance testing, intellectual property protection, digital marketing and travel stipend. Eligible applicants may receive up to $30,000 in STEP awards per year.


In October, Export MT will offer a “Grants for International Sales” training webinar on the STEP grant and international marketing activities.


“Many Montana companies have tried out new international markets or implemented new export marketing plans because of the STEP grant,” said Angelyn DeYoung, International Trade Manager of Export MT. “When Montana companies export, they bring in new money to the state, increase their sales and diversify their markets.”



Since 2011, Montana has received $5.79 million in STEP grant funds from the SBA, matching with $1.9 million in state funds, and has awarded 879 grants with a return on investment of $851 million and supported 1,508 jobs.


In 2022, Montana exported $3.3 billion of products; that includes the top exported products such as cereals, mineral fuel, inorganic chemicals, meat and industrial machinery. The top countries that Montana companies export to are: Canada, Mexico, Korea, Japan and China.

The current amount of available grant funding, the fourth highest amount in the nation, is expected to assist an estimated 241 exporters with international sales activities and training and contribute approximately $10.3 million in total export sales.


For more information about Montana’s STEP program, visit exportmontana.com. To directly apply for STEP funding, visit the application site.



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