The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says it will receive $300,000 in competitive grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support export opportunities through the Indiana State Trade and Export Promotion (IN-STEP) program, which helps Indiana small businesses identify, market and sell Hoosier-made goods in international markets.

IN-STEP, which supports company growth and job creation by expanding and diversifying small businesses’ customer bases, offers eligible companies reimbursements of costs associated with export-related activities, such as participating in international trade missions, trade shows, export educational programs, and export services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The program first launched in January 2020, and with this new grant, it will make funding for Indiana available through September 2024 or until all funds are distributed.

The iEDC says that since launching less than three years ago, IN-STEP has helped more than 45 Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses engage with international markets across six continents, reporting export sales of $11.7 million. For every federal dollar invested through the program, $23.7 has been returned to Indiana small businesses through export sales.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Indiana ranks in the top 15 for exporting, with businesses shipping products and goods such as automotive parts, pharmaceuticals and agricultural commodities to global customers. The IN-STEP program aims to build on this momentum by helping more Indiana small businesses develop and expand export-related activities, ensuring more Indiana businesses are able to participate in the global economy while opening up new markets for Hoosier-made goods around the world. 

Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses are encouraged to apply for export assistance through IN-STEP. To be eligible:

-The business must be in operation for at least one year;

-The business must be new to exporting or market expansion;

-The business must be an Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) client;

-The business must be in accordance with SBA size standards, which categorizes small businesses based on measures like industry, number of employees and annual receipts. Use the SBA’s Size Standards Tool to see if your company qualifies; and 

-The business’ goods must be made in the U.S. or composed of at least 51% U.S. material.

Learn more and apply for export assistance online.