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September 7, 2023

MITC lands $350K for international trade expansion

The Maine International Trade Center will receive $350,000 in federal money to boost exports by the state's small businesses. 

The funding will support activities such as participating in foreign trade missions, market sales trips, international marketing campaigns, participating in export trade show exhibits, and attending training workshops.

The money comes from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program and is part of a $20 million tranche of grants awarded to 49 state and territory international trade agencies, a news release said.

Since 2020, over 60 small businesses in Maine have received financial assistance to support their international exporting, resulting in $6.9 million in actual sales and an additional $76.3 million expected in the next 12 to 18 months.  

The figures represent a 13:1 immediate return on investment and a projected 143:1 future return on grant funds, according to the SBA.

man standing on a pier
File Photo / Jim Neuger
Wade Merritt, president of the Maine International Trade Center

“The funding that Maine International Trade Center receives from SBA through the STEP program is a vital component of the assistance we offer to small Maine companies that are ready to enter or expand international markets,” MITC President Wade Merritt said. “Global competitiveness requires a company to make significant investments in market analysis and entry methods. In some cases, the financial assistance provided through this program can be the difference between taking that next step for international business growth or passing on an opportunity.”

Strengthening the base of small business exporters and improving global competitiveness on the international stage are key components of the SBA's small business strategy. 

This year's awardees were selected after a competitive application process. Individual STEP awards are managed at the local level by state government organizations and nonprofit entities. 

Since its creation in 2010, the STEP program has awarded $235.5 million in grants and directly supported over 13,000 small businesses' international expansion and export growth.

Maine International Trade Center will begin accepting applications from eligible Maine companies for the new grants on Oct. 1. For more information, click here.

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