The House Small Business Committee recently held a hearing to examine the operations of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of International Trade (OIT) to facilitate small business exports.
Chairman Nydia M. Velázquez talked about issues such as the desire to export products Small businesses that go abroad often struggle to obtain funds to fill foreign purchase orders. Other common issues addressed were difficulties in connecting with foreign buyers, and compliance with international rules and regulations.
OIT Grants and Small Business Support for Commercial Exports
SBA’s OIT is seeking to address these issues as it is responsible for supporting the development of small business international trade and encouraging small business exports. The main focus of OIT is to administer the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), in which grants are awarded to states and territories to directly support small businesses seeking to export.
“Rapid Growth” of Exports
Chairman Velázquez spoke about the benefits of exporting and how the SBA can improve their assistance programs, saying: “For small businesses, exporting products abroad can jumpstart growth and unlock the full potential of the business. Potential. Nearly 96% of consumers live outside the U.S. When small companies sell their products internationally, they can reach countless new customers, become more resilient, and improve their bottom line.
“Today, I want to take a closer look at how the SBA Office of International Trade, particularly STEP, is doing, and what Congress can do to improve the program and address any challenges the office faces. “
THOUSANDS OF SMALL BUSINESSES
The STEP program participates in promotions such as trade missions, seminars, and export shows by matching funds for states and territories. In fiscal 2021, the SBA supported $832 million in export sales through the STEP program, while helping 3,400+ small businesses.
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