Economics / Funding

This funding for export support helps Delaware small businesses keep selling internationally

The SBA's State Trade and Export Promotion award helps small businesses conduct business overseas — even while they're working from home.

Keep on exporting. (Photo by Pexels user Pixabay, used under a Creative Commons license)

COVID-19 may be keeping Delaware small business sales managers at home, but doing business overseas continues — and, with the help of a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) award to the Delaware Department of State (DDS) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), they’ll continue to have support to keep exporting.

This is the sixth year in a row Delaware has received the award, which has benefited 96 small businesses physically located in the state in the form of reimbursing up to 50% of funds of up to $7,000 per fiscal year for a maximum of three years over a five-year period. While many of the allowable reimbursements are connected to travel (including airfare, lodging and trade show booth registration), quite a few are COVID-friendly, allowing businesses to receive reimbursement for things like website translation and interpreters, virtual business meetings with overseas customers and some pre-approved design marketing.

The 96 businesses reported $31 million in new export sales over the past two years, with 27 Delaware jobs created, according to Export Delaware, the DDS export initiative.

“The STEP Grant funds from the SBA have proven to be critical to Delaware small business owners, especially during the COVIC-19 pandemic,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock in a statement. “This program is essential for keeping small businesses on the growth track.”

In addition, Export Delaware announced that it is offering customized virtual business meetings, a Zoom or Skype alternative to the business trip designed specifically for Delaware small businesses. The program gives teams the opportunity to meet one-on-one with potential customers and distributors overseas without the travel.

“Now more than ever, international export sales are critical,” said Beth Pomper, head of Export Delaware. “One major purchase order from an overseas company could sustain a Delaware small for several months as they weather the COVID-19 economy here in the States.”

To learn more about the STEP Grant and how to apply, visit

Companies: U.S. Small Business Administration

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