HELENA, Mont. – Governor Steve Bullock today announced that Montana has received $364,969 in federal grant funding for programs to help businesses export their products and services to markets around the world.
“Montana’s economy is strong and growing and Montana products and services are in demand all across the globe,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “These new funds will increase opportunities for Main Street businesses all across the state to compete in a global economy and move more Montana goods to international markets that demand our quality products.”
The Department of Commerce received a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which will be used to help Montana businesses exhibit at international trade shows, translate promotional materials into foreign languages and be part of international business matchmaking activities facilitated by the U.S. Commercial Service. Commerce will match the funds with a $121,656 in-kind investment.
The STEP grant is awarded through a competitive application process in which Montana is up against all other U.S. states and territories. Montana has successfully received the award every year since 2011.
Last year’s STEP grant was for $347,688, which Commerce matched with $115,896 in-kind and disbursed through 101 awards to Montana businesses. As a result, these businesses reported an estimated $26.8 million in sales, potential to create up to 57 new jobs over the next two years, and expansions into 70 new markets such as Canada, Germany and China.
Last month, China lifted its ban on importing U.S. beef, opening new opportunities for Montana beef producers to expand their markets. During trade missions to China, Taiwan and Korea, Governor Steve Bullock led conversations with key officials aimed at opening and expanding the market for Montana beef.
MorTan Inc. of Missoula, a medical equipment company, used its funds from 2016 to attend an emergency medicine trade show in Italy. Steve Bixby, director of international sales and marketing, said grant programs can be a “game-changer” for small businesses like MorTan.
“As a result of this exhibition, we now have a much stronger and more personal relationship with our distributor, made some excellent contacts in the market, and lined up potential distributors in three other countries,” he said. “We probably would not have attended this show without the grant we received.”
Montana exports a variety of products, from dental instruments to snowboard bindings and non-lethal defense sprays, as well as an equally diverse variety of services, from rapid prototyping to software development and campervan rentals.
For more information about how the Department of Commerce will use these grant funds and how to apply, visit ExportMontana.com and select the menu option for International Marketing Assistance Program.