The funding is part of the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program, established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 to award grants to states to carry out export programs that assist eligible small businesses. The program will be administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s International Trade & Investment Office and will complement the state’s best-in-class trade initiative, Export Missouri.
“With programs like STEP, more and more Missouri businesses are able to start connecting with new customers and get their goods on shelves around the world,” Gov. Nixon said. “When we increase the demand for Missouri-made goods, we are strengthening our manufacturing sector and creating more jobs for Missouri families.”
Last year, Missouri was awarded $599,999 in STEP funding. That funding has helped 77 small businesses with export training, connections with new clients internationally, and participation in trade activities promoting their Missouri-made goods.
In 2012, Missouri was awarded $1,017,448 in funding through the STEP program and assisted 155 new-to-market Missouri businesses engage in exporting activities and establish relationships with new customers around the world. This assistance resulted in $26.4 million in export transactions involving Missouri companies, creating 155 jobs while retaining 670. It also represented a return on investment of $25.95 in exports for Missouri companies for every $1 in federal funds.
Under the STEP program, Missouri businesses can receive funding to boost their exports by participating in foreign trade missions and market sales trips, subscription to services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, website foreign language translation services, design of international marketing materials, trade show exhibitions, and participation in export and trade financing workshops.
Gov. Nixon said the STEP grant will be used to focus on export and trade promotion activities in key global regions, including the Middle East region.
The years 2014 and 2012 were the best on record for Missouri export sales. This summer, the state released export figures through the second quarter of 2016 totaling $7.19 billion, which is up by $406 million compared to the same period last year. Transportation equipment topped export sales just over $2.5 billion, which was a nearly 90 percent increase from the same quarter in 2015.
The Brookings Institution(link is external) recently ranked Missouri 8th in the nation for growth in advanced manufacturing output, which increased by 4.26 percent from 2013 to 2015. The report also ranked Missouri 6th for its annual advanced manufacturing job growth of 3.57 percent.
To view the latest export report, visit https://www.missourieconomy.org/pdfs/2016q2_exports.pdf. For more information on Export Missouri, visit ExportMissouri.mo.gov.