Congresswoman Aimed at Improving Small Business Exports

The House Small Business Committee recently held a hearing to review the operations of the Office of International Trade (ILO) of the Small Business Administration (SBA), with the goal of boosting small business exports.

Congressman Aiming to Improve Small Business Exports

President Nydia M. Velázquez addressed issues such as small businesses looking to export their products overseas and often having difficulty obtaining capital to fulfill foreign purchase orders. Other issues frequently discussed were the difficulty of getting in touch with foreign buyers, as well as compliance with international rules and regulations.

ILO grants and support for small business exports

The SBA ILO seeks solutions to these issues as it is the agency responsible for supporting the development of small business international trade and encouraging small business exports. The ILO primarily focuses on the administration of the State Trading Expansion Program (STEP), under which grants are provided to states and territories to directly support small businesses seeking to export.

“Start growth” with exported products

President Velázquez spoke about the benefits of exporting and how the SBA can improve its assistance programs: “For small businesses, exporting products overseas can kick-start growth and unlock the full potential of a company. Nearly 96% of consumers live outside the United States. When small businesses sell their products internationally, they can reach countless new customers, become more resilient, and increase their bottom line.

“Today, I want to take a closer look at the operations of the SBA’s Office of International Trade, and in particular STEP, and what steps Congress can take to improve the program and address the challenges facing the Office.”

Support for thousands of small businesses

The STEP program works by matching funds to states and territories for their participation in promotional activities such as trade missions, workshops and export exhibitions. In fiscal year 2021, the SBA supported $832 million in export sales through the STEP program while helping more than 3,400 small businesses.

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