Global NY State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

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Empire State Development (ESD) is working in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to increase the number of small businesses that begin to export; increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export; and increase the number of small businesses exploring significant new trade opportunities.

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In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), grants are being offered to qualifying small and medium-sized business to increase the number of businesses entering the export market, and to increase the value of exports for businesses that currently export.

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    Allowable Uses of Program Funds

    Allowable Uses of Program Funds

    Approved STEP funds can assist New York State businesses with:

    • Participation in programmed foreign trade missions
    • Subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce
    • Trade show exhibition (international and qualified domestic trade shows)
    • Participation in export training workshops
    • Qualified foreign market sales trips
    • Website Content/Foreign Language Translation
    • Development of International Marketing Campaign(s)
    • Virtual Services
    • Compliance Testing

    * Speaking engagements at a conference is an ineligible activity

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    Eligibility Qualifications 

    • Headquarters in New York State
    • Manufacture, assemble and/or distribute a product, or provide an exportable service
    • In business for at least one year
    • Qualify as an “eligible small business concern” and meet SBA size standards
    • Have access to sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade
    • Have a product or service for export that contains at least 51% United States content
    • Not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for disbarment, declared ineligible and/or voluntarily excluded from participation by any federal department or agency
    • Site visits and/or telephone interviews may be conducted to further determine a company’s eligibility

    Ineligible Companies
    Businesses acting as intermediaries for other companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, retail and companies that are recruiting foreign investment are ineligible.

    New Exporters should click here to determine their level of export readiness.

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    The funding period for the STEP 9 (Continuation Year) is September 30, 2021 – September 29, 2022. STEP awards are issued on a first-come, first-served basis until the program funds are expended.

    Download the STEP 9 (Continuation Year) guidelines

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    Evaluation Process & Funding

    ESD staff will review all applications and make a determination regarding the applicant's eligibility within 30 business days of receipt of the application. The grant is awarded in the form of a reimbursement. Reimbursement for expenses is limited to one company representative and is based on 70% of the total eligible costs. This program does not allow for reimbursement of retroactive trade activities that have already been completed. If changes occur to a company’s planned arrangements, failure to provide adequate notice to ESD officials of the changes may void any awarded funds.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    1.    Q: When should I submit an application?
    A: You should submit your application as soon as possible and no less than 30 days prior to the anticipated activity start date. This program does not allow for reimbursement of retroactive trade activities that have already been completed. (Exceptions may be made for trade show booth deposits)

    2.    Q: What is the amount of funding that is available to me?
    A: Grants range from $1,750 to $6,000 depending on the activity selected. You cannot receive more than $14,000 over the course of STEP funding period.

    3.    Q: When should I expect to hear back on my application status?
    A: Within 30 business days of receipt of the application. 

    4.    Q: If I am approved to travel, are there restrictions on flights?
    A: Yes, reimbursement is available for one round trip economy (coach) airfare, ticketed through a U.S. carrier; the airline must comply with the Fly America Act.

    5.    Q: If I am approved to travel, are there limitations on lodging costs? 
    A: Yes, the reimbursement rate cannot exceed the per diem lodging rate. Click here for international rates and here for domestic rates. One employee may be reimbursed for lodging and travel costs.
    *Subject to change

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    How to Apply

    The STEP 9 (Continuation Year) application is a fillable PDF.

    Complete the form electronically and email it to [email protected].

    Click here to download the application.

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    Reimbursement and Required Reporting

    Upon completion of an activity, a company will be required to submit all eligible expense receipts and proof of payment electronically. After review of a company’s expenses, reimbursement will typically take 6 weeks to process. A company must also complete a Project Impact Report for data collection purposes. A follow-up Project Impact Report is also required to be submitted to ensure Global NY is aware of each company’s latest statistics.

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    Additional Information

    If you have any questions please contact us: (212) 803-2300 or [email protected].

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