STEP Fund | Oklahoma Department of Commerce

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded the Oklahoma Department of Commerce with State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant funding to assist eligible small businesses with export development. The objective of this program is to increase the overall number of small business exporters and increase their export sales by helping businesses diversify by entering international markets.

Funded Services

The Oklahoma STEP grant is a matching grant reimbursing up to 75 percent of allowable expenses:

  • Domestic or foreign trade shows
  • Reverse or foreign trade missions
  • Participation in export training workshops
  • E-commerce translation, and website optimization services
  • U.S. Commercial Services
  • Other allowable and approved activities 

The program will offer assistance of up to $28,000 per company under the STEP 8 grant and $20,000 per company under STEP 9 grant funding.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Own an Oklahoma based business which has been in business for not less than 1 year, as of the date on which assistance is provided
  • Be a For-Profit Business
  • Meet the SBA definition of a small business (SBA size standards 13 C.F.R. Part 121.)
  • Have export products/services that contain a majority of U.S. content (51 percent or higher)
  • Be in good standing with  Oklahoma state agencies including the Secretary of State and Oklahoma Tax Commission.

Use of Funds + Grant Requirements

Eligible Oklahoma businesses may apply to receive reimbursements for up to 75 percent of pre-approved, allowable, export-related expenses up to the maximum amount. Each activity has their own maximum allowable costs. For designated export trade shows, matching grant reimbursement for exhibitor passes and travel costs (airfare and hotel) are capped at two people per company per show. The maximum allowable for reimbursement varies for each show.

Evaluation + Reporting

Companies receiving grants agree to provide the State with confidential information to document the successes achieved with the help of this grant through quarterly reports requesting information such as: number of leads received, business under negotiation and/or sales achieved and Oklahoma jobs created or retained as a result of the trade activities for which funding was granted. The State of Oklahoma is required by the SBA, as a condition of its funding for this program, to provide feedback on all activity in the form of progress reports collected quarterly from all STEP awardees through the end of the grant cycle period. Recipients of SBA grants acknowledge that their cooperation in this regard is a contingency of such funding.

Companies can apply for funds for one or more of these services. Once you have completed all requirements you can apply online. Events each have their own application deadlines. Companies must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to secure funding for trade shows. Grants are funded through a reimbursement process. 

Training, Research, & Export Solutions

Webinars – Export Compliance Training (dates TBD)

Ecommerce, Website Optimization & Translation Services – up to two languages

US Commercial Services: Gold Key Matchmaking Services, International Partner Search, or Due Diligence on Foreign Parties

Trade Missions

Meet with representatives in targeted international markets to build your business abroad. Missions will be conducted virtually until travel restrictions are lifted. The following events are planned for 2021:

  • Virtual Foreign Trade Mission to UK & Ireland in partnership with ExportExplore
  • Virtual Foreign Trade Mission to Europe in partnership with Kallman
  • Virtual Foreign Trade Mission to Mexico in partnership with Market Intelligence Latin America

Trade Shows - STEP 8

Automotive Meetings Queretaro - Rescheduled

July 7-9, 2021
Mexico

Queretaro, Mexico Automotive Meetings Queretaro is the only event for auto supply chain manufacturers in Mexico.

MRO Americas

April 27-29 2021
Orlando, FL

MRO is the premier U.S. event for the air maintenance, repair and overhaul industry, offering an extensive conference agenda where business leads are generated.

Automotive Testing Expo

June 8-10 2021
Stuttgart, Germany

The event is the world’s largest vehicle and component preproduction as well as in-line and end-of-line assembly testing and validation technology and services exhibition, featuring 480+ exhibitors and attracting over 9,000 attendees.

Paris International Airshow - Canceled

June 21-27 2021
Paris, France

The 54th edition of the Show will take place at the Le Bourget Parc des Expositions and once again bring together all the players in this global aerospace industry around the latest technological innovations.

Trade Shows - STEP 9

PowerGen International - Canceled

March 30 – April 1, 2021
Orlando, FL

Power-Gen is the world’s largest power generation event including electricity generators, utilities, solution providers.

AUVSI

May 3-6, 2021
Atlanta, GA

AUVSI XPONENTIAL is the global stage for everything unmanned – from state-of-the-art propulsion technology, sensors, energy storage and UAS mitigation solutions to what’s coming over the horizon.

Fabtec Mexico - Rescheduled

June 8-10, 2021
Monterrey Mexico

FABTECH Mexico continues to be the primary gathering for leading metal manufacturers in Mexico.

JEC

June 1-3, 2021
Paris, France

JEC World is the only trade show that unites the global composite industry where attendees can find a full spectrum of processes, new materials, and composite solutions.

Mexican Petroleum Congress

June 23-26, 2021
Monterrey Mexico

The Mexican Petroleum Congress is Mexico and Latin America’s most important forum for the exchange of scientific and technological innovation in the oil/gas exploration and production industry.3

Offshore Technology Conference (OTC)

August 16-19, 2021
Houston, TX

OTC is the largest event in the world for the oil and gas industry. Where energy professionals meet to exchange ideas to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources.

Fabtech

September 13-16, 2021
Chicago, IL

As North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event, FABTECH USA provides a convenient “one-stop-shop” venue where you can meet with world-class suppliers, see the latest industry products and developments.

Interested in attending a trade show that is not included in the above list?

We have a limited amount of funding available to help you exhibit at additional international or domestic trade shows with preapproval. Contact our office for more information.

Partners

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce works with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, U.S. Commercial Service – Oklahoma Export Assistance Center, U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Oklahoma District Office, Oklahoma International Trade Center, Department of Agriculture, and Export-Import Bank of the United States to support Oklahoma companies in exporting to new markets to generate wealth and increase employment in the state.

Funded through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBA logo

Your STEP Grant Experts

Nicole Boyles, IOM
Director of Grants & Regional Partnerships
Jesse Garcia
International Trade Specialist
Kathy Gain
STEP Grant Program Manager

Application Preparation

Before you apply, prepare to answer questions about the following:

  • Company contact information
  • STEP activities you are applying for
  • Status as a small business as defined by the SBA.
  • Information about the company’s locations, ownership, and organization
  • Number of years in business and date of company founding
  • Industry classification code
  • Company employment and sales numbers
  • Details about company exporting activities
  • Whether or not the company has applied for a STEP grant in the past

Required Documents + Registrations

Gather and complete these required documents. You will upload copies of these files during the application.

SBA Form 1624: Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion Lower Tier Covered Transactions

Download Form 1624 from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and complete prior to applying.

Self-representation as an Eligible Small Business Concern

This document states that you are an eligible small business as defined by the Small Business Administration.

W-9

Download a W-9 from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and complete prior to applying.

Certificate for Competitive Bid and or Contract (Non-Collusion Certification)

This document states that you did not collude with anyone to apply for this grant.

Complete by placing your business name in the Supplier Legal Name at top and then sign.

Terms and Conditions for Sole Source Acquisition

This document states that we did not go out to bid to do business with you.

Complete sections six through 11 and sign the signature page on page six.

Certificate of Liability Insurance

This document is a copy of your certificate of liability insurance provided by your insurance company.

Contact your insurance agent to obtain a copy.

System for Award Management

All companies that receive federal funds are required to be registered in the federal System for Award Management.

There is no cost for registration. 

Once you have completed all required documents and the SAM registration you can apply online.

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