NOTICE: We know many Connecticut businesses are struggling as they deal with the effects of COVID-19. We appreciate their perseverance and know they share our commitment to keeping our residents healthy. The state, working with its federal partners, has several programs and initiatives in place to assist businesses during this difficult period. For specific questions related to small business, email the Joint Information Center at COVID19.JIC@ct.gov, or call the DECD small business hotline at 860-500-2333. Individuals can call 2-1-1 for more information. For the most updated information, check ct.gov/coronavirus.com

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

Overview

The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant is designed to help Connecticut’s small business community thrive in the global marketplace by increasing the value of small business exports, increasing the number of businesses that export and increasing the number of businesses exploring significant new trade opportunities.


Eligibility

This program is open to businesses that:

  • operate a registered business in Connecticut to manufacture, assemble and/or distribute a product, or provide an exportable service;
  • qualify as an “eligible small business concern” per one’s NAICS code and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) size standards;
  • have been in business for not less than one year ending on the date on which assistance is provided under the STEP program;
  • have demonstrated an understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers, including the costs of freight forwarding, customs brokers, packing and shipping;
  • seek to export goods or services of U.S. origin or have at least 51% U.S. content; and,
  • are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for disbarment, declared ineligible and/or voluntarily excluded from participation by any federal department or agency.

Eligible Expenses

Funds may be used for a variety of activities:

  • Trade mission/Trade show cost including registration/booth fee, furniture, graphics, signage, shipping (not baggage)
  • Translation/Interpreter fees
  • USDOC commercial services fees
  • International materials/Collateral translation
  • Website translation
  • Export training registration fees
  • B2B matchmaking registration fees 
  • Compliance testing

Ineligible Expenses
Funds may NOT be used for the following: air/ground transportation, lodging, meals/beverages/gratuity, alcohol, compensation, wages or salary for any employee, capital goods/product samples/supplies, product giveaways/promotional items, phone/internet usage, website development, passport or visa fees, printing cost, new product development, or expenses related to entertainment of clients. There may be other ineligible expenses. There may be other ineligible expenses.

Contact

For information on this program, contact Laura Jaworski at (860) 500-2368 or via email laura.jaworski@ct.gov or Aaron Knight at (860) 500-2359 or via email at aaron.knight@ct.gov.

To begin an application and review program guidelines, visit stepgrant.fluidreview.com.