TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded $200,000 to the Kansas Department of Commerce to expand the state’s robust export sector, which hit an all-time high of $13.97 billion in 2022.
The agency’s International Division oversees the administration of the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) award, enabling eligible businesses to leverage these funds for conducting focused activities that promote export growth. The STEP program plays a crucial role in equipping Kansas’ small businesses with the necessary resources and knowledge to excel in export-related endeavors, assisting existing exporters and companies venturing into international markets for the first time.
“Consumers around the world continue to find that made-in-Kansas products simply are the best,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This support from SBA will help our outstanding small businesses continue to grow, something my administration has prioritized since taking office.”
The SBA began administering STEP in 2011 as part of federal legislation encouraging trade. Through STEP, states competitively apply for and receive financial awards to assist small businesses with export development. The award will allow Kansas to assist small businesses with foreign trade missions and foreign market sales trips, obtaining services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, accessing expertise in designing international marketing campaigns and export trade show exhibits, participating in training workshops, and more.
“Investing resources to help broaden the Kansas exporter base is good for these small businesses – and the entire state economy,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “As the global marketplace continues to present new opportunities for Kansas companies, our International Division will provide whatever support we can to help our exporters take advantage.”
Since the program’s inception in 2012, more than 220 Kansas small businesses have participated and achieved more than $44 million in actual export sales.
“Many Kansas small businesses have insufficient resources to venture into new markets or have uncertainty about how to begin exporting their products,” Randi Tveitaraas Jack, Deputy Director of the International Division, said. “The STEP funding allows us to tackle those challenges and help them succeed.”
To learn more about the STEP program, visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website or the SBA website.