HELENA, Mont. – Montana has received a federal grant for Department of Commerce programs to help businesses export their products and services to markets around the world.
The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded Commerce a grant through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), which the department will match with an in-kind investment of $133,939. Grant funds will be used to help Montana businesses grow through a variety of export-related activities.
“By expanding into the global marketplace, Montana’s businesses can increase and diversify their sales and create more jobs,” said Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote. “Commerce has prioritized securing and matching these funds each year to help businesses understand exporting and explore new markets with less risk.”
Activities eligible to use STEP grant funds include exhibiting at international trade shows, translating promotional materials into foreign languages and participating in international business matchmaking activities facilitated by the U.S. Commercial Service.
STEP grants are awarded through an application process in which Montana competes with all other U.S. states and territories. Montana has received the award every year since 2011.
Last year, Montana received $364,969, which Commerce matched with $121,656 in-kind and disbursed through 96 awards to Montana businesses. As a result, these businesses reported an estimated $11.7 million in sales, potential to create up to 78 new jobs over the next two years, and expansions into 70 new markets such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Australia.
In 2016, Montana exports totaled $1.3 billion. Its biggest markets were Canada, China, South Korea, Taiwan and India; and its top export categories were chemicals, agricultural products, beverages and tobacco products, machinery, and transportation equipment.
For more information about how Commerce will use these grant funds, visit ExportMontana.com.