Utah STEPs up in exports

by Ariel Briggs, Intern, Governor’s Office of Economic Development

While Utah is already “ahead of the curve” when it comes to exporting records and continues to lead the nation in doubling exports in the last five years, the State is always interested in engaging even more companies in the profitable international marketplace.

To help Utah companies make the process of exploring and initiating exporting opportunities even more accessible and affordable, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development , with the support of its partners at the Pete Suazo Business Center, Salt Lake Chamber, and the World Trade Center Utah, are engaged in the State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP) program. This is a federal and state funded pilot program intended to increase the number of exporting small businesses and the value of exports by the small business sector. Funds for the STEP program are provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the State of Utah and have funded market research, export readiness assessments, global business seminars, international trade missions, and international trade show participation.

The STEP program has increased State sponsored international trade missions and trade shows. To date, funds from the program have been used to increase Utah business in Canada, Chile, Germany, South Korea, and Vietnam. Upcoming STEP sponsored trade missions include Mexico (August) and Indonesia (September). During trade missions based on the pre-specified needs of each company, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development partners with the U.S. Commercial Service or trade representatives to provide in-country expertise and one-on-one matchmaking meetings with pre-screened distributors, customers, agents, and joint-venture partners. These services are reimbursable through the STEP grant to qualifying eligible small businesses.

“This event (Vietnam Trade Mission) was extremely well organized and the use of the Gold Key services (from the U.S. Commercial Service) led us to the contacts that we needed. Having both an interpreter and a car service allowed us to meet with twice the number of people we could have normally met in the same amount of time. The meetings at the Embassy with the U.S. Commercial Service were insightful and helped us form strategies to do business in these different countries.” – Todd Edwards, Albion Laboratories.

To learn more about requirements for qualification as a SBA eligible small business visit www.business.utah.gov/step

Funded in part through a grant award with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

Funded in part through a grant award with the U.S. Small Business Administration