AUGUSTA — A $400,000 grant to Maine International Trade Center will help provide small businesses the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities.

The funds are part of $20 million in grant funding available nationally for international trade agencies throughout the country via a competitive application process to the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion grant program. SBA will begin accepting applications Oct. 3.

Exporting activities include participating in foreign trade missions, market sales trips, designing international marketing campaigns, participating in export trade show exhibits, and attending training workshops, as well as other important means of engagement.

“With nearly 96% of consumers living outside the U.S. and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power in foreign countries, it’s critical we level the playing field of opportunity for small businesses to access these potential customers and clients,” said SBA New England Regional Administrator Mike Vlacich. “Thanks to this federal funding, Maine International Trade Center is able to support new and existing small business exporters as they increase sales and expand into new markets by using SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program.”

This year marks the 10th year of the STEP funding, which has awarded over $215 million to date. Since 95% of the world’s consumers and two-thirds of all purchasing power are located outside the United States, this grant program plays a critical role in providing access to capital, access to markets, and access to buyers, according to the SBA announcement.

Since 2020, over 40 Maine small businesses have received financial assistance to support their international exporting goals, resulting in $5.1 million in actual sales and an additional $35.4 million projected in the next 12 to 18 months, according to the SBA announcement.  These figures represent a 16:1 immediate return on investment and a projected 107:1 future return on grant funds.

“During times of economic uncertainty, diversification of markets remains a sound business strategy, and international business is a key element,” Maine International Trade Center President Wade Merritt said. “This additional funding from SBA allows MITC to help Maine companies take advantage of their best export markets for today and develop new opportunities for the years ahead.”

MITC will begin accepting applications from eligible Maine companies for the new grant funds on Oct. 3. Learn more at mitc.com/business-support/funding/.

 

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