CT small businesses receive $200,000 award  

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The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded $200,000 to the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). 

The award was given to Connecticut through SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) and is meant to support the state’s small businesses with export development. According to the SBA’s website, STEP has awarded $200 million to U.S. states since the program was founded in 2011.  

These funds will help small businesses in a variety of ways, such as in designing international marketing products, paying for subscriptions provided by federal agencies and participating in training workshops for exporting.  

According to a press release, STEP’s mission is to “increase the number of small businesses that export, increase the value of exports for small businesses, and increase the number of small businesses that explore significant new trade opportunities.”  

“with nearly 96 percent 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. thanks to this federal funding, [DECD] can support new and existing small business exporters to increase sales and expand markets through sba’s STEP.”

Mike Vlacich

“With the help of the U.S. SBA STEP funding over the past decade, hundreds of Connecticut small businesses have been able to boost their presence in the global marketplace and tap into new trade opportunities as well,” said DECD Commissioner David Lehman.  

Mike Vlacich, SBA’s New England Regional Administrator, recognized the award as an opportunity for small businesses to expand and access customers abroad.  

“With nearly 96 percent 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,” Vlacich said. “Thanks to this federal funding, [DECD] can support new and existing small business exporters to increase sales and expand markets through SBA’s STEP.”  

The grants are awarded to small businesses on a first come, first served basis, according to SBA’s Connecticut District Director Catherine Marx.  

“I highly encourage Connecticut entrepreneurs to apply as soon as possible [as] these grants are on a first come, first serve basis,” Marx said.  

Representatives from STEP will be sharing information on how to apply for grants in a webinar later this month. Registration and additional details can be found on SBA’s website

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