Delaware Awarded Latest Round of STEP Grant Funds to Support Small Business Exports

DOVER – For the fourth year in a row, the Delaware Department of State has received a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.) This year’s award totals $268,096 and will be used to support the state’s efforts to assist small Delaware companies in entering and developing markets overseas.

The program’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export and to increase the value of exports from small businesses. The STEP Grant program makes matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses in the international marketplace. Delaware will match the SBA grant with $89,365, bringing the total available for export efforts to $357,461.

As with previous STEP grants, a significant portion of the grant will be used to directly reimburse small- and medium-sized companies for eligible, pre-approved export expenses such as international travel, trade show activities, international marketing materials and overseas interpreters.

Companies that have participated in the program in previous years report $16 million in new export sales, and project over $109 million in additional export sales in the next two years.

“The STEP Grant funds from the SBA make our strategic export program possible. It’s proven to be a tremendous asset to our small businesses and a significant new source of growth for Delaware’s economy,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock.

Export Delaware, the state’s official export resource for small businesses, will use the grant to finance export-related marketing activities. Delaware small businesses that are interested in applying may learn more about the program at export.delaware.gov.

This year, Export Delaware is offering business trips to Colombia, Ireland and the UK, Australia, Southeast Asia and South Korea. These trade missions are designed specifically for Delaware small businesspersons, and provide the opportunity for them to meet one-on-one with potential customers and distributors overseas.

Delaware’s international trade representatives work with Export Delaware to organize meetings with targeted customers. Delaware’s trade reps have wide networks in their countries, enabling them to secure meetings with high-level decision makers. Often, the trade reps accompany Delaware businesses in their meetings to help facilitate discussion and overcome any cultural barriers.

The STEP Grant covers professional fees for trade reps, translation costs for presentations (if needed) and in-country transportation and interpreters. In addition, Delaware businesses may apply for STEP Grant funds to cover a portion of their travel costs.

“We are excited to continue to build upon our past success and continue to support Delaware’s small businesses as they grow through exporting,” said Beth Pomper, director of Export Delaware.

To date, 50 companies have participated in export events offered by Export Delaware, 40% of which were minority- or women-owned business.

To learn more about the STEP Grant and how to apply, visit export.delaware.gov or contact Beth Pomper at beth.pomper@delaware.gov.


Meet the Reps: Global Delaware expands export program, adds new countries and trade reps

Wilmington, DE – Global Delaware is expanding its Strategic Export Program to Colombia, Ireland, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, and has hired new international trade representatives in each country to help support export efforts by Delaware companies.

The new reps will be on hand to present an overview of export opportunities in their respective countries and be available for one-on-one meetings on Thursday, September 14 at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce at Global Delaware’s 3rd annual Meet the Reps event.

Delaware’s trade reps work in-country to perform market research and analysis, develop product strategies for market entry, identify distributors and potential customers, and provide in-country logistical, translational and related support services on behalf of Delaware companies.

“This event has become a must-attend for the state’s local business community,” said Beth Pomper, Global Delaware’s export advisor. “Attendees love to hear about opportunities abroad, and value the insights our reps provide. We are especially excited about this year’s event because we have new reps coming to talk about the target countries that we have added to our program.”

Pomper, who plans the state’s strategic export program, extensively researched the world’s markets to find the best prospects for the products and services Delaware companies provide. She selected the five new countries based on these factors and other global trends. For example, while Ireland’s bioscience, pharmaceuticals, financial technology and food processing sectors have matured, there is a new wave of activity there as a result of Brexit. Industries are growing once again, and Delaware companies have the chance to take part.

Each country offers unique opportunities, Pomper said.

“Singapore is a gateway to Southeast Asia, offering a launch pad for Delaware manufacturers to find distributors selling to other countries in Southeast Asia. It has the most efficient healthcare system on earth, and many Delaware companies make products that service this industry. It is relatively easy to export to Singapore as well, as the majority of goods enter duty free. Malaysia is a hub for manufacturing, and it’s very close to Singapore (a 50-minute flight or four-hour drive), so it’s ideal to go to both nations in one trip.

“Colombia is an emerging market. There is demand for security products, and manufacturing is a big industry. There is a lot of growth potential right now. Finally, to succeed in Australia, companies have to be innovative and unique. Many Delaware SMEs fit this bill and will find great partners there.”

The reps in these countries know the certification processes, regulations, and business laws in their home countries, Pomper notes, and can provide Delaware companies with the tools and resources to successfully sell their goods and services in the global marketplace. Plus, they have key connections Delaware businesses need to get appointments with people who are in a position to purchase their products and services.

“Our reps have been critical to the success of the State’s numerous business trips over the past year, arranging strategic one-on-one in-country meetings and assisting with logistics,” Pomper said. “We are confident our new reps will be able to provide the same high-quality services in Colombia, Ireland, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.”

Support at home and abroad

Global Delaware’s strategic export initiative focuses on expanding the state’s export program, offering tactical and practical services to increase exports and ultimately create jobs. Over the past year, Global Delaware has led business trips to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada and South Korea, generating over $16 million in projected sales. New missions to Canada and Ireland are planned for the coming months.

In addition, Delaware businesses benefited from $275,000 in financial assistance in the form of STEP grants to expand exports this year.

The STEP grant is a resource for the state’s export efforts and companies looking to launch or grow their export strategy. There are many international business expenses that companies can use the grants for, such as expenses related to trade shows, client visits, travel, translations and market research.

“Our mission is to help Delaware companies find opportunities around the world,” explains Global Delaware Director Andrea Tinianow. “We have the expertise, the resources, and a growing number of success stories. We want to see more companies join that list!”

The following reps will be available to talk about overseas opportunities:

Miguel de Regil, Colombia
Miguel is a friendly face with a new assignment. Delaware’s trade rep for Mexico for the past 2 years, Miguel will now serve local companies exploring Colombia as well. With more than four decades of international trade experience, Miguel brings extensive knowledge of consumer and industrial markets throughout Latin America.

Declan Barry, Ireland
Declan worked in international business development across Europe for over a decade. He helps pharmaceutical, medtech, fintech and cyber security businesses expand to Ireland.

Sarath Menon, Singapore and Malaysia
Over the last 15 years, Sarath has supported thousands of companies in the industrial, commercial and service industries. He can also assist companies interested in exploring opportunities in Vietnam.

Angela Foley, Australia
Angela has supported international trade efforts of businesses in Australia for over 15 years.
(Angela will not attend the Meet the Reps event, but is available for consultation for local companies interested in Australia.)

Registration for the event opens at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 14 at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, 1201 North Orange Street, #200, Wilmington, DE. Delaware trade reps will provide brief country overviews starting at 9:00 a.m., followed by one-on-one meetings throughout the morning.

Businesses unable to make this event are encouraged to contact Emma Pautler at global@delaware.gov to arrange an alternative meeting time.

To register for this event and sign up for one-on-one meetings, go to: de.gov/reps and fill out the short form. Global Delaware and The Delaware Department of State would like to thank Fulton Bank for sponsoring this event, and the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce for hosting.

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Delaware Awarded Record $282,636 to Support Local Export Activities

State receives new trade and export promotion grant for 2016-17

Wilmington, DE – The Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted Global Delaware, the international development initiative of Delaware’s Department of State, an FY 2016 State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program award totaling $282,636 to support the state’s efforts to help Delaware companies enter and develop markets overseas. This year’s grant is the largest STEP award the state has ever received.

global-delaware-logo-headThe SBA’s STEP Program gives states matching-fund awards to assist small businesses looking to enter and succeed in the international marketplace. The program’s objective is to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export and to increase the value of these exports.

As with previous STEP grants, a significant portion of the grant will be used to directly reimburse small- and medium-sized companies for money spent on eligible, pre-approved export expenses such as international travel, trade show activities, international marketing materials and overseas interpreters.

“This grant award will give a helping hand to small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to expand into foreign markets,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “One way to create a nurturing environment for small businesses to grow and succeed is to assist them as they explore new markets overseas, and this grant will help them in the crucial first stages.”

“Small businesses in Delaware need to use their limited resources wisely, and for many of them, a business development trip out of the county is rarely an option—even though that trip might significantly help their international business prospects,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons. “STEP grants do just that; help companies travel to a foreign market and meet with potential or existing customers. I was glad that the Congress preserved funding for STEP grants, and I have seen the good work they have done for a number of Delaware small business.”

“The vast majority of consumers live outside of the U.S. With the STEP program, Delaware’s small businesses have more access to these markets, and are in a better position to compete, grow their customer base, and create jobs,” said Congressman John Carney. “I’d like to thank the SBA, and congratulate the team at Global Delaware for bringing these resources to our state. This is the type of investment that will continue to move our economy forward.”

“Delaware companies were able to successfully leverage STEP grants to grow their export strategies last year, and we hope to see even more activity this year,” said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, noting that Delaware companies are anticipating over $10 million in sales as a result of last year’s export program. “What we need to see now are more companies—new companies—coming forward to take advantage of this resource to grow their businesses and contribute to job creation here in Delaware.”

The STEP award will also be used to finance export-related marketing activities, such as organizing trade missions to connect Delaware businesses with buyers and distributors abroad. Global Delaware organized trade missions to Mexico, Canada, South Korea and Germany this year. STEP grant funds are used to set up one-on-one business meetings with potential distributors and customers in the target markets, hire interpreters, and cover other costs associated with the missions, such as translating marketing presentations and paying for in-country transportation.

Delaware companies can learn more about attending a mission or applying for an export grant at global.delaware.gov/expand or by emailing global@delaware.gov


Financial assistance for international market expansion still available for Delaware companies

The deadline for Delaware businesses to spend their grant award is September 30, 2016.

State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grants are still available to small- and medium-sized companies looking to enter and develop markets overseas. The grant money is part of $276,741 awarded last year by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help increase export sales and ultimately create jobs for more Delawareans.

The SBA’s STEP Program makes matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses enter and succeed in the international marketplace. STEP grants are used to directly reimburse Delaware companies for up to 50 percent of all pre-approved, eligible export marketing expenses, up to a maximum of $5,000 per fiscal year per company. Eligible activities include international travel, trade show activities, international marketing materials and overseas interpreters.

The deadline for Delaware businesses to spend their grant award is September 30, 2016.

“We’ve had many companies take advantage of STEP funding to finance their international activities, from attending trade shows in Europe to working with Global Delaware’s trade representatives to traveling around the world to meet with prospective clients. The grants have helped Delaware-based businesses generate millions in export sales.” says Beth Pomper, International Trade Advisor for Global Delaware, which administers the grants. “We are urging other companies to do the same. High participation helps to strengthen the local business community and also ensures that we receive additional funding next year from the SBA.”

Local businessman Julio da Ponte has used STEP grants to finance trips to China and Singapore to meet with customers. “When trying to grow business, developing and cultivating personal relationships is really key, and we can’t do that without travelling,” the VP of Industrial Valves & Fittings says. “The travel can get quite expensive, and the STEP grant is one of the ways that we’ve been able to make it happen.”

“Delaware companies must look abroad if they are to successfully grow their operations, and we can provide the support and resources needed to make that happen,” notes Andrea Tinianow, director of Global Delaware. “The application process is straightforward, the funding is available, and we are ready to help.”

Companies interested in applying for a STEP grant should contact global@delaware.gov to fill out an application. More information is available online at de.gov/funding.


Global Delaware seeks input from Delaware companies about exports

Global Delaware Helps Local Companies Compete on an International Stage
Delaware companies that share their export goals can win lunch with Governor Markell.

Delaware companies grow and succeed when they compete in the global marketplace. Governor Markell couldn’t agree more. And, to show his support, he’s offered to have lunch with a current or future exporter!
Over the last year, Global Delaware revamped the State’s export program to help even more Delaware companies find and grow markets overseas, and secured a Federal STEP grant to provide financial support for companies seeking to export.

Now, Global Delaware is looking ahead to next year to tap additional federal funding to support local export efforts. To do this, Global Delaware needs input from the local business community, and is offering a chance to win lunch with Governor Markell as thanks for participating.

“We have resources and financial assistance waiting for companies that want to take their business abroad,” explained Global Delaware Director Andrea Tinianow. “Our local businesses can help by telling us which countries hold the most export potential for their products and services. We’ll use that information to seek additional funding and grow our calendar of events and activities.”

Delaware businesses that share information about their export interests will be entered to win lunch with Governor Markell. Tinianow noted that international commerce has been a priority of Gov. Markell’s administration. “Participation in the global marketplace is critical to drive more jobs and increased revenue in the State, and the Governor fully supports Global Delaware’s export program.

Company responses will be used to plan new events and activities, as well as provide vital information for the State’s application for additional STEP grants, Tinianow explained.

A link to the survey can be found here.

See the attachment below for more information.

Global expansion survey press release 3.8.16