RALEIGH –Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that the N.C. Department of Commerce is the recipient of a $603,442 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration that will help increase exporting by small businesses over the next year. SBA Administrator Karen Mills made the national grant announcement with Gov. Perdue in North Carolina.
“I am focused on growing jobs; one of the ways we can do that is by helping our small and medium sized businesses increase their exports,” said Gov. Perdue. “North Carolina’s exports are at near peak levels and we must continue to take an aggressive approach to finding new opportunities with our trading partners.”
The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, under the State Trade and Export Promotion program (STEP). A total of $30 million is being awarded across the country by the SBA.
“Strengthening the nation’s economy through a substantial increase of U.S. exports is a top priority for the Administration and the agency,” said Mills. “This is a unique partnership between the federal government and the states. Sharing responsibilities and resources will help new small exporters across the country enter and succeed in the global market.”
In North Carolina, the STEP grant will be used for a new export assistance initiative called NC Passport to Export. The N.C. Department of Commerce will provide a 25% match to the federal funds. The program will leverage the resources of local, state, and federal partners in reaching ever more small and medium size North Carolina companies. NC Passport to Export will give companies access to new market research, increase export education, help companies access global trade shows and new foreign markets, and provide assistance with global branding opportunities. The goal is to increase the number of small and medium size companies exporting and to help current North Carolina exporters to increase the number of overseas markets they reach.
Last year, North Carolina businesses exports more than $25 billion dollars worth of products and services all over the world. Exports support about 350,000 jobs in North Carolina.