State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)


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.



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, expenses related to entertainment of clients, association/membership dues or sponsorships. There may be other ineligible expenses.



For information on this program, contact Laura Jaworski at (860) 500-2368 or via email or Kerron Vernon at (860) 500-2446 or via email at .

To begin an application and review STEP FY 2022-2023 Program Guidelines visit

 Funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration