Published On: 09/28/2023Categories: Economic Development, Entrepreneurs, Industry News

Indiana Awarded New Grant Funding to Power Small Business Exports

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Hoosier entrepreneurs, small business owners encouraged to leverage IN-STEP program to market, sell Indiana-made products to international markets


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) secured $300,000 in competitive grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support the export activities of Hoosier small businesses through the Indiana State Trade and Export Promotion (IN-STEP) grant program. IN-STEP, which launched in 2020, helps Indiana small businesses develop and expand export-related activities, opening up new international markets for Hoosier-made goods around the world.

“In Indiana, we’re focused on building a global economy of the future, and our Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses will be critical to advancing future-focused innovations and solutions,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg. “Indiana ranks in the top 15 states for exporting, and the IN-STEP program aims to build on this momentum, helping more Hoosier small businesses reach customers in international markets and find success in the global economy.”

IN-STEP is designed to help small businesses identify, market and sell their products or services around the world. Through the program, eligible companies can receive reimbursements of costs associated with export-related activities, such as participating in international trade missions, trade shows and export educational programs, as well as other export services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This new grant funding will be available to Indiana companies beginning Oct. 1, 2023, through September 2025, or until all funds are distributed.

Since the program’s launch less than four years ago, IN-STEP has helped 65 Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses with 102 projects to start or expand export activity across six continents. These businesses have reported export sales $20.7 million for grant-support activities, generating an approximate return on investment of $26 for every grant dollar invested.

Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses are encouraged to apply for export assistance through IN-STEP. To be eligible:

  • The business must be in operation for at least one year;
  • The business must be new to exporting or market expansion;
  • The business must be an Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) client;
  • The business must be in accordance with SBA size standards, which categorizes small businesses based on measures like industry, number of employees and annual receipts. Use the SBA’s Size Standards Tool to see if your company qualifies; and
  • The business’ goods must be made in the U.S. or composed of at least 51% U.S. material.

Learn more and apply for export assistance through IN-STEP online. Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses are also encouraged to connect with statewide resources and leverage the support of ecosystem navigators at ConnectIND, a digital portal available in 11 languages that is designed to increase support for entrepreneurs and founders, powering Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.