**Shaheen helped create the State Trade Expansion Program as a pilot program in 2010 to assist small businesses with entering new markets, accessing export financing and attending trade missions.**
(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 four years. Shaheen has led action in the U.S. Senate in support of STEP and helped create it as a pilot program in 2010.
“Since I worked to create STEP as a pilot program in 2010, small businesses have utilized its resources to develop export and e-commerce capabilities necessary to compete in international markets. STEP has been particularly important to Granite State small businesses, many of which I’ve had the opportunity to visit and see these crucial dollars in action,” said Shaheen. “Ninety-nine percent of New Hampshire’s businesses are small and it’s paramount that Congress explores every avenue to help them grow and succeed. STEP helps create those opportunities, which is why my bill to reauthorize and strengthen the program is necessary and a no-brainer. We see the success of this program through the work of participating small businesses every day – I urge lawmakers in Congress to support my effort to ensure that continues.”
In addition to reauthorizing the program from Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 through FY 2026, the bill will also improve the implementation of the program by creating a standardized application process, increasing spending flexibility for grant recipients, improving communication between SBA and States, collecting performance metrics and reporting to Congress. Under the legislation, businesses operating for less than one year will now be allowed to participate in the program.
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. In 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.