Georgia small businesses can now apply or reimbursable grants totaling up to $6,000 to get into the export game or expand their international sales.
The incentive is part of a $162,000 State Trade Expansion Program, or STEP, grant to the Georgia Department of Economic Development from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Small businesses already make up 90 percent of Georgia’s exporters, even though a smaller number of big companies make up much of the state’s export value.
The grants to be awarded under the Go Global Georgia initiative are aimed at helping to “stretch the international marketing budgets” of companies within the state, especially those who are already eyeing global expansion. Cost is often an impediment to following up on yet-unproven leads that could nonetheless turn into substantial deals.
“Every dollar counts when you’re a small business seeking to sell to global customers. Our Trade team has always focused on the needs of small business exporters, delivering services that connect our Georgia businesses with key customers, and this grant provides another tool for our companies to stay ahead of the competition,” said Deputy Commissioner for International Trade Mary Waters.
Ms. Waters recently announced in Global Atlanta that the state had also put together the Export Georgia, USA directory to help international buyers discover Georgia products.
The department’s trade division, bolstered by 12 international offices, works with some 2,000 companies per year, the majority of which are small businesses.
How It Works
Approved expenses include export training, design and translation of print and dial marketing materials, website globalization, international market travel and participation in both in-person and virtual trade shows.
Applications must be sent in 30 days before the export activity and approval must be granted before it commences for the grant to be valid.
Companies can receive grants for up to half of the export costs incurred. Grants can be awarded twice in a year are capped at a total of $6,000 per company, per fiscal year. The application period opened up Oct. 1 and ends in September 2021.
To apply, companies must be incorporated in the state of Georgia and operating here for more than a year, employ fewer than 500 people (typically) and be exporting goods of U.S. origin that are at least 51 percent American content.
Foreign companies producing in the United States are ineligible, per SBA guidelines.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber-led Metro Export Challenge held each year also offers grants for reimbursable expenses in one-time disbursements of $5,000. First-round winners in the past have been invited to pitch for funds worth up to $20,000.