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.

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. 

Funded Services

The Oklahoma STEP grant is a matching grant reimbursing up to 85 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
  • 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.
  • Be able to bear the costs associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.

Use of Funds + Grant Requirements

Eligible Oklahoma businesses may apply to receive reimbursements for up to 85 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 booth space, 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.

Export Training and Assessment Services

  • Export Compliance Training Webinars
  • Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance Business Assessment

Website Translation Services

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

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 Mexico in partnership with Market Intelligence Latin America

USA Aerospace & Defense Showcase Services

The USA Aerospace & Defense Showcase is a virtual trade platform creating opportunity for participants to explore your products and services, set appointments and hold meetings at virtual, in-person or hybrid events – supporting your business through enhanced accessibility, quality, content, and functionality.

Planned virtual shows include: IDEX, Land Forces Australia, Paris Air Show, MSPO Poland, Seoul ADEX S. Korea, Avalon Airshow Australia, Dubai Airshow UAE, and Expodefensa Colombia.

Virtual Booth Costs

Fees for the virtual booth options listed below include a full year subscription to host a virtual booth through Kallman, which will be displayed at select trade shows, some that are fully virtual and other that are hybrid virtual/in-person.

  • Gold virtual booth $2,500 – Standard Size
  • Platinum virtual booth $3,250 – Larger Size

STEP Grant Reimbursement

Approved companies would be reimbursed $2,125 if registering for the Gold listing or $2,763 if registering for the Platinum listing.

Trade Shows - STEP 8

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.

AUVSI - Rescheduled, Now Hybrid Event

May 4-6, 2021
Online

August 16-19, 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.

JEC - Now Online

June 1-3, 2021
Online

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.

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.

World of Concrete 2021

June 8-10, 2021
Las Vegas, NV

World of Concrete is the commercial construction industry’s largest annual international event for concrete and masonry professionals. More than 60,000 industry professionals from all around the world representing all segments of the construction industry take part in this annual event.

Paris International Airshow - Virtual

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.

Automotive Meetings Queretaro - Rescheduled, Now Virtual

July 7-9, 2021
Mexico

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

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.

2021 Americas Food & Beverage Show

Miami, FL
September 22-23, 2021

This event is the largest Americas-focused food and beverage trade show in the Western Hemisphere. The show’s goal is to assist companies in growing their market share and increasing two-way trade within the US and throughout the Americas. It provides exhibiting companies and visitors unparalleled opportunities to discover new markets, creative new products, ideas and innovations.

Natural Products Expo East

Philadelphia, PA
September 22-25, 2021

Natural Products Expo East has proven itself to be the best place to reach natural, organic and healthy lifestyle buyers on the East Coast. Each year, international visitors are attracted to Expo East, looking for the chance to sample new products from companies around the globe. Join industry members at the ultimate experience for finding the cutting-edge trends to help your business grow.

Summer Fancy Food 2021

New York City, NY
September 27-29, 2021

This year’s in-person global event will allow many options for attending and will showcase the exploration and purchase of specialty food and beverage products. All participating attendees will be vetted and prequalified and will range from retail and foodservice buyers to food industry service providers and members of the media.

Trade Shows - STEP 9

Mexican Petroleum Congress - Rescheduled

November 17-20, 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.

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.

The online form asks specific questions about your business and will require you to upload completed forms during the application process. Save time by preparing required information and documents for upload before you start your application.

For assistance, contact Jesse Garcia at jesse.garcia@okcommerce.gov or call 405-815-5136 (office) or 405-312-3088 (mobile).

  1. Read and review the Application Preparation section.
  2. Review the required forms and registrations checklist
  3. Download and complete required forms and the SAM registration.
  4. Apply online at the link below.

 

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
  • Whether or not your company has been active for at least one year and in good standing with the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) and Oklahoma Secretary of State (SOS).

Required Forms + Registrations Checklist

Review the STEP requirements for the activities and services you are applying for. Not all forms are required for some applications.

Requirement Trade Shows Trade Missions Website Services Training and Assessment

Oklahoma STEP Application

SBA Self-Representation Form

SBA Debarment Form

Vendor Payee Form

Certificate for Competitive Bid

Sole Source Acquisition

Certificate of Liability Insurance

LLC Disregarded Entity Verification Form
(Only if LLC)

System for Award Management (SAM) Registration

Required Forms + SAM Registration

Gather and complete these required documents. You will upload completed 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.

OMES Vendor Payee Form

Download Vendor Payee form 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.

LLC Disregarded Entity Verification Form

This document is to be completed ONLY by those businesses that are registered as an LLC.

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. 

Complete the required forms before you apply online. You will upload copies of completed forms during the online application process.

Events each have their own application deadlines. Companies must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to secure funding for trade shows. 

Begin your STEP application online.

Your STEP Grant Experts

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

STEP 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 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.

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