INDIANA – The Indiana Economic Development Corporation 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.
“Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is robust and growing, ranking among the world’s top emerging markets,” said Ann Lathrop, executive vice president of global investment at the IEDC. “As a state, we pride ourselves on supporting and cultivating the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow, and the IN-STEP program is yet another tool available to help these leaders and their businesses grow and succeed.”
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 was first launched in January 2020, and this new grant, it will make funding for Indiana available through September 2024 or until all funds are distributed.
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 categorize 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.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the State economy, driving economic development, and helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Led by Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, @SecChambersIN, and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, @GovHolcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit iedc.in.gov.