With funding from a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and matching funds contributed by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the ACA runs Arizona’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. The AZ STEP program will assist Arizona small businesses (defined as those with less than 500 employees) to enter export markets for the first time or to expand into new markets. This will enable these businesses (which account for 98% of the businesses in Arizona) to increase their revenues via international sales and to thereby be even more significant engines for job creation and economic growth in Arizona.
The ACA’s AZ STEP program will be offering a number of services and tools to Arizona small businesses as they go global for the first time with their sales or enter new international markets. Through various types of technical assistance/capacity building and levels of financial assistance, the continuum of services and tools offered under the STEP program are as follows:
- Export readiness assessment of your small business
- Export education and counseling for your company so that you can be informed and equipped for success on the international stage (this will be done via education/training workshops, seminars and webinars)
- Assistance with market selection strategy for your company so that it explores and enters markets that are best suited for your product or service
- Assistance to your company with development of international marketing materials, including brochures and websites (and translation of these materials, if necessary, into the language of the target country/region market)
- Assistance to your company in identifying actual, potential buyers, agents, distributors, end users, and other strategic partners in international markets
- Opportunities for your company to participate in sector-specific trade missions/summits (both internationally and in the U.S.) that have been carefully selected, comprehensively prepared, and professionally lead by ACA staff to maximize opportunities for success
The ACA’s STEP program for Arizona entails dynamic collaboration with many public and private sector partners within the State and also at the national level. These include the U.S. SBA, U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance Center (USEAC), Arizona Small Business Development Center (AZSBDC) Network, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), U.S. Export-Import Bank, Arizona Technology Council (AZTC), Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG), Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency Business Center, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, commercial banks with Preferred Lender Program status, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Arizona District Export Council (AZDEC), Mesa Minority/Micro Small Business Development Center (M3SBDC), among many others.
As indicated, this State Trade and Promotion Grant Program is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions or services. All SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.
Companies wishing to participate in the Arizona STEP program should email Kevin J. O’Shea. Companies should also complete the Export Readiness Questionnaire, available here, as well as the Application for STEP Grant Funding and the SBA Eligible Small Business Form (see below).