JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon recently announced that Missouri has been awarded $599,000 in competitive funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase the number of Missouri small businesses that export their products, creating jobs and generating additional economic growth as a result. With the state’s export sales reaching their highest levels ever in 2012 and 2014, the federal grant will focus on helping Missouri businesses reach new customers in Central America and South America, Nixon said.
According to a release from the governor’s office, the funding is part of the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program, established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 to award grants to states to carry out export programs that assist eligible small businesses. The program will be administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s International unit and complement the state’s best-in-class trade initiative, Export Missouri.
“Exports create jobs here at home, and with more than 95 percent of consumers located outside the U.S., helping Missouri businesses reach new customers around the globe has been a top priority of my administration,” Nixon said in the release. “These funds will enhance our efforts to help Missouri businesses – especially small businesses – compete and win in the global economy.”
In 2012, Missouri was awarded $1,017,448 in funding through the STEP program and assisted 155 new-to-market Missouri businesses engage in exporting activities and establish relationships with new customers around the world. This assistance resulted in $26.4 million in export transactions involving Missouri companies, creating 155 jobs while retaining 670. It also represented a return on investment of $25.95 in exports for Missouri companies for every $1 in federal funds.
Under the STEP program, Missouri businesses can receive funding to boost their exports, including participation in foreign trade missions and market sales trips, subscription to services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, website foreign language translation services, design of international marketing materials, trade show exhibitions, and participation in export and trade financing workshops.
Nixon said the STEP grant will be used to focus on export and trade promotion activities in key global regions, including Central America and South America. The funding will help incentivize Missouri exporters to focus their exporting targets on the countries of Colombia, Panama and Peru.
The years 2014 and 2012 were the best on record for Missouri export sales. During the week of Aug. 24, the state released export figures for the second quarter of 2015 which totaled $6.77 billion, a 3 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Chemicals and transportation equipment were Missouri’s top exporting sectors, accounting for $2.67 billion in sales for the recent quarter. The transportation equipment sector alone experienced a 13.6 percent increase in sales compared to the second quarter of 2014.
For more information on Export Missouri, visit ExportMissouri.mo.gov.