Contact: Megan Hill
Idaho Commerce

Idaho to Receive FFY17 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant Dollars

BOISE, Idaho—Tuesday, October 3, 2017—The State of Idaho has received a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant of $343,240 for Federal Fiscal Year 2017. Since the program’s inception in 2011, Idaho has been fortunate to receive STEP funding each year to make funds available to qualifying Idaho companies with the intent to export products internationally. The STEP grant program is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is administered by Idaho Commerce.


STEP is a trade and export initiative to make matching-fund awards to states in order to assist their small businesses with entering and succeeding in the international marketplace. Initially a 3-year pilot program, STEP was signed into law February 24, 2016 as a permanent program as part of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. On June 1, 2017, Administrator Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, announced the FFY2017 $18 million funding opportunity to support export growth among U.S. small businesses by increasing both the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting. Recipients of STEP awards in the first three rounds (FFY2011, 2012, 2014) nationally reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded. In FFY2015, Idaho companies reported successful returns of nearly 40:1 from the program.


Utilizing STEP funds, Idaho Commerce and Idaho State Department of Agriculture will support small businesses with activities such as organizing industry-specific trade shows with state pavilions as well as facilitating a direct financial assistance award program. Eligible companies applied for funds on a competitive basis to target approved export projects with awards ranging from $3,000 to $15,000 per project. $140,000 was awarded on September 21st to 20 Idaho small business in industry sectors ranging from manufacturing and agriculture to aerospace and outdoor recreation. Projects range from sales trips to Sweden and Spain, the State of Idaho’s trade mission to Taiwan and Vietnam, and exhibiting at some of the world’s largest international industry trade shows in the United Kingdom and Germany.


“Idaho small businesses are taking the world by storm thanks to the support of STEP funding that makes international trade shows and trade missions possible,” said Idaho Commerce Director Megan Ronk. “Encouraging existing businesses to grow globally is a tremendous opportunity to diversify Idaho’s economy and to continue to expand a number of the state’s emerging industry clusters.”


To learn more about Idaho’s current STEP grant program and for all updates regarding our implementation of this new 2017 award, visit


For a list of awardees and more information on the STEP program, visit