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Shaheen Welcomes $250K from U.S. Small Business Association to Help NH Small Businesses Compete on Global Stage

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, applauded $250,000 awarded from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through a competitive application process to the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program grant program. The Division of Economic Development’s Office of International Commerce will use this funding to provide small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities.  

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. 

“I’m thrilled to welcome $250,000 through the STEP program to empower Granite State small businesses with the tools needed to compete on the global stage. I helped create STEP as a pilot program in 2010 to help small businesses enter new markets. From teaching small businesses how to export and participate in international markets to supporting e-commerce capabilities, this program is key to leveling the playing field and boosting the competitiveness of our small business community,” said Senator Shaheen. “Small businesses are the bedrock of New Hampshire’s economy and communities, and I’m excited to see these important tools further strengthen the Granite State.” 

“With nearly 96 percent of consumers living outside the U.S. and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power in foreign countries, it's critical we level the playing field of opportunity for small businesses to access these potential customers and clients,” said SBA New England Regional Administrator Mike Vlacich. “Thanks to this federal funding, the Office of International Commerce will be able to support new and existing small business exporters increase sales and expand markets through SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program.  We thank Senator Shaheen for her leadership in the creation of the STEP program.” 

Exporting activities supported through the STEP program include participating in foreign trade missions, market sales trips, designing international marketing campaigns, participating in export trade show exhibits and attending training workshops, as well as other important means of engagement. 

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 month, 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.