A STEP in the right direction.

The State of Idaho has State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant funds for projects occurring through September 29, 2023. STEP is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is administered by Idaho Commerce. The goals of STEP are to increase the number of small businesses that export, increase the value of exports and increase the number of small businesses exploring significant new trade opportunities.

Participants must meet SBA eligibility requirements to participate in the following STEP-funded programs.

Learn more about the program in the video below.

Applying for a STEP Grant

STEP 1: Determine Eligibility

  • Use the STEP U.S. Content Definition/Formula
  • Find your business’ NAICS code
  • Use the SBA Business Size Standards Tool
    • Affiliates: You must include the employees or receipts of all affiliates when determining the size of a business. Affiliation with another business is based on the power to control, whether exercised or not. The power to control exists when an external party has 50 percent or more ownership. It may also exist with considerably less than 50 percent ownership by contractual arrangement or when one or more parties own a large share compared to other parties. Check the SBA’s compliance guide for size and affiliation for more detailed information.
    • Annual receipts: This is the “total income” (or “gross income”) plus the “cost of goods sold.” These numbers can normally be found on the business’s IRS tax return forms. Receipts are averaged over a business’s latest three complete fiscal years or (except in the Business Loan and Disaster Loan Programs) five complete fiscal years to determine the average annual receipts. If a business hasn’t been in business for five years, multiply its average weekly revenue by 52 to determine its average annual receipts. The SBA calculates annual receipts in accordance with 13 CFR 121.104.
    • Employee calculation: This is the average number of people employed for each pay period over the business’s latest 12 calendar months. Any person on the payroll must be included as one employee regardless of hours worked or temporary status. The number of employees of a concern in business less than 12 months is the average for each pay period that it has been in business. The SBA calculates number of employees in accordance with 13 CFR 121.106.

STEP 2: Learn

  • Review program guidelines for USCS Services Award.
  • You can review program guidelines for all other programs under each opportunity below.
  • STEP Best Practices Webinar* (webinar slides with notes available here)
    • *Please note, the webinar was recorded in 2018 and some of the specifics (award amount, dates, caps, etc.) have changed. Review current guidelines for grant requirements, use this webinar as a tool for the actual execution of a quality application.

STEP 3: Evaluate

STEP 4: Register and Apply

  • Register for your online portal account to apply for a STEP Grant, contact Tina Salisbury at +1-208-287-3164 or tina.salisbury@commerce.idaho.gov. Logins must be requested 48 hours prior to application due dates. If your company has previously applied for any grants administered by Idaho Commerce, you are already set up in the system and will use that login to apply.
  • Request a copy of the application questions that will be found in the online portal system once it opens. This way you can get a bit of a head start.
  • Assistance determining eligibility under SBA requirements.
  • Get introduced to your industry’s International Trade Specialist at Idaho Commerce or the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. They are here to help you and can be a valuable resource during the application process, including tips before you upload your submission (time permitting).
  • The following required forms must be submitted with application. Applications are only accepted online at the Idaho Commerce Grant Portal.

STEP Grant Funded Activities

Online Global Program

Available to qualifying companies seeking support to internationalize websites and e-commerce.

State-Led Industry Trade Shows

Join the Idaho pavilion at industry-specific international trade shows to take your business further.

Financial Assistance Awards

Available to qualifying companies seeking support for various international trade activities of your own.