(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) for five years. Shaheen has led action in the U.S. Senate in support of STEP and helped create it as a pilot program in 2010.
“In New Hampshire, 99 percent of our businesses are small. They deserve every resource possible to engage and compete in international markets. That’s why I created STEP as a pilot program in 2010 and am introducing legislation today to build on its success. My bill will ensure access to training and tools for small businesses to export their goods and enter new markets by reauthorizing the STEP program,” said Shaheen. “The positive impact of this program is undeniable – I urge Congress to act swiftly in passing this legislation.”
In addition to reauthorizing the program through Fiscal Year 2028, the bill will also improve the implementation of the program by creating a standardized application process, increasing flexibility for grant recipients, improving communication between SBA and States, collecting performance metrics and reporting to Congress.
Full text of the bill is available here.
Senator Shaheen helped create the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) as a pilot program in 2010 to help small businesses enter new markets, access export financing and attend trade missions. The program was fully authorized by Senator Shaheen’s small business trade amendment, which was signed into law in 2016.
Senator Shaheen has long supported trade agreements and programs that increase opportunities and growth for New Hampshire businesses. Shaheen was the first New Hampshire Governor to lead trade missions outside of North America and has prioritized efforts in Congress to help small businesses boost their exports. Senator Shaheen also strongly opposed the Trump Administration’s Section 232 tariffs on allies in Canada and Europe, and was instrumental in securing an exclusion process for businesses to apply for relief from the Section 301 tariffs. Last August, Shaheen joined United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and the Granite State District Export Council for a roundtable discussion to hear from New Hampshire businesses engaged in the export market on how they use trade agreements and programs to help their businesses succeed.