**Program will help New Hampshire small businesses reach new markets, expand trade opportunities**
(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), lead Democrat on the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, and New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan today announced the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) will receive $213,000 through the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant program to help more small businesses increase their exports by reaching new foreign markets. Shaheen helped create the STEP program through the Small Business Jobs Act, legislation she crafted as a member of the Senate Small Business Committee. The program was reauthorized through 2020 as a result of Shaheen’s amendment to a trade enforcement bill signed by President Obama in February.
“Increasing exports is a common-sense way to grow small businesses, strengthen our economy and create jobs right here in New Hampshire,” Senator Shaheen said. “Granite State small businesses are creating cutting-edge products that are in demand around the world and exports represent tremendous potential for growth, whose products can reach consumers in large markets across the world. With the STEP program’s proven record of success, I am confident that this new grant will have a great impact on New Hampshire businesses and jobs.”
“New Hampshire’s small businesses are the engine of our economy, providing high-quality goods and services that help spur economic development and create good jobs,” Governor Hassan said. “The STEP grant program has proven successful in expanding export and trade opportunities for our small businesses, and today’s announcement will help strengthen our efforts to revitalize international trade and keep our economy moving forward.”
Shaheen and Hassan have continued to work to aid small companies in reaching customers outside of New Hampshire and expand export opportunities. With the receipt of the STEP grant, New Hampshire DRED will administer programs through a public-private partnership with the Granite State District Export Council and the private sector New Hampshire Export Expansion Fund. The grant will help small businesses in New Hampshire prepare for new markets, access export financing and attend trade missions as well overcome obstacles that stand in the way of accessing foreign markets, such as a lack of expertise or resources.
The STEP program has a demonstrated track record of helping small businesses reach new markets, generating a return on investment of $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.