The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) will receive a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant of $641,000 on behalf of the state, a record-high STEP grant in Utah. The grant will be used to accelerate the growth of international sales for Utah small businesses.
According to Marla Trollan, district director of SBA’s Utah operations, thanks to the success of Utah businesses, the SBA has increased Utah’s STEP grant from $300,000 to $641,000 over the past two years, the largest increase among any state in the highly competitive process. WTC Utah will administer the grant by providing financial support and business services to small Utah businesses to help them compete and win in global markets. STEP is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the SBA, Trollan said.
“This is the second year in a row that the SBA has dramatically increased its support for Utah businesses,” Trollan said. “The 114 percent increase in funding for Utah over the last two years validates the incredible work WTC Utah and our Utah businesses are doing to leverage STEP grants to accelerate Utah’s international growth. Our office is proud to work closely with WTC Utah on this grant program and other innovative international trade programs that we are developing through a formal cooperative agreement between our two organizations, including an international pipeline process and intermediate grant program.”
Utah’s export growth rate has been the highest in the nation for the past two years. Eighty-five percent of Utah’s exporters are small businesses and international sales add $5 billion across the state in additional revenue for small-business exporters. STEP grant funding ensures that the small businesses have the tools necessary to expand and market their products and services around the world.
“Not only is the FY20 STEP rant award amount the highest Utah has received from the SBA’s program in its 10-year history, but it is also $141,000 higher than our FY19 award and more than double our FY18 award,” said Nicole Sherwood, who leads WTC Utah’s STEP as the director of grants and operations and STEP project director. “No other state in the country has seen its STEP rant increase this dramatically over the past two years. This increase is a direct result of the incredible work Utah companies are doing to pursue international opportunities. The SBA is aware of Utah’s impact on a global scale and the innovative work that is happening here, and this year’s increase in funding speaks to that.”