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New Grant Program to Boost International Exports by Alaska Small Businesses

Dec 20, 2023 | Government, News, Small Business

Bluejeanimages | Envato

The Office of International Trade in the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) has begun accepting applications from eligible small businesses for grant funding to boost exports.

Up to $10,000 for Trade Activities

The International Trade Assistance Grant (ITAG) program is the result of a $100,000 grant to DCCED from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

The ITAG program reimburses up to 75 percent of expenses for travel with foreign trade missions, subscription fees to international websites, design of international marketing materials, exhibition at an international trade show, participation in export training, or procurement of international consulting services. The minimum award amount is $1,000 and the maximum award amount is $10,000. Eligible activities less than the minimum may be combined to meet the threshold. An applicant’s 25 percent cash match may not come from any other federal government source.

Eligible applicants must meet the SBA definition of a small business, be headquartered in Alaska (with at least half of employees located in Alaska), and offer products or services with at least 51 percent US content. The applicant must have been in operation for at least one year while also being either “new to export” or engaging in “market expansion”—that is, the activity must help enter a new market where they do not already have significant export sales. Applicants must also have sufficient resources to pay for packing, shipping, freight forwarding, customs brokers, or other costs associated with international trade.

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Alaska Business June 2024 Cover

June 2024

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 created STEP to assist small businesses with entering and expanding into international markets through awards to states and territories. This is the first STEP grant that the State of Alaska has received in six years.

“With the expansion of internet services to all Alaskans and the anticipation of many important infrastructure projects that will improve access, this is the perfect time to launch this program,” says DCCED Commissioner Julie Sande. “By offering Alaskan businesses new opportunities in market diversification on an international scale we can help to grow our economy and build stronger communities.”

To facilitate ITAG, DCCED is partnering with entities across the state, including the US Commercial Service – Alaska, the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Alaska International Business Center (akIBC) to conduct outreach.

“The Alaska International Business Center congratulates the State of Alaska for being awarded this important grant funding to support Alaska’s export community,” says akIBC President and CEO Greg Wolf. “These funds will be very helpful in enabling Alaskan companies to compete successfully for trade opportunities in overseas markets.”

Applications are being accepted through September 29, 2024, which is the deadline to complete activities for reimbursement. The STEP funds are available through September 29, 2025, and the SBA allows two years to expend all STEP funds.

“US Commercial Service—Alaska is thrilled the State of Alaska has been awarded STEP funding to help small businesses offset some costs to enter new global markets,” says Debbie Franklin, the state office director for the agency, part of the US Department of Commerce. “Including ‘exporting’ in a small business target market diversifies their customer base and levels out production flow. We look forward to assisting with this win-win-win!”

Alaska Business June 2024 cover
In This Issue
Delivering Anchorage's Promise
June 2024
Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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