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(Nashua, NH) – Small business exports will create jobs and grow our economy, said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today during an announcement of the second round of the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant program at Axenics, Inc. in Nashua. The STEP program was created by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which Senator Shaheen cosponsored and helped craft as a member of Senate Small Business Committee.

“Exporting is a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to grow their companies and tap into new markets,” said Shaheen. “With this second phase of STEP funding, small businesses in New Hampshire will have greater access to growing markets around the world.”

The grant will be administered by the state International Trade Resource Center (ITRC) to help small businesses in New Hampshire prepare for new markets, access export financing and attend trade missions. The services offered help small businesses overcome obstacles that stand in the way of accessing foreign markets, such as a lack of expertise or resources.

“The Small Business Administration (SBA) has the products and services to help small businesses grow through exporting, including export counseling and finance programs,” said Jeanne A. Hulit, SBA’s Associate Administrator for Capital Access.  “The State Trade and Export Program is one more way we help exporters by partnering with state government to help its most promising small business exporters reach new markets and increase sales.”

The grant announcement was held on the Nashua manufacturing floor of Axenics, Inc. , a firm that specializes in the manufacturing of clean piping products, specialized assemblies and gas systems. Exports currently account for less than ten percent of their annual sales, but with the assistance of the ITRC and the STEP grant, Axenics is taking advantage of services and opportunities to increase their export potential.

“We are honored that Axenics was chosen to host this event,” said Chris Coutis, Vice President of Axenics, Inc. “There are extra costs when conducting business outside the United States, and the STEP grant will help smaller companies offset some of the costs. We are thankful to Senator Shaheen and other leaders who support these kinds of programs.”

As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, Shaheen has consistently worked to aid small companies in reaching foreign customers. She has introduce two pieces of legislation this past year, the Small Business Export Growth Act and Go Global Act, focused on increasing exports for small businesses.