Export Assistance Grant Awarded to SC DOC

Export initiatives have been a key priority for the state of South Carolina. Now, the The South Carolina Department of Commerce (SCDOC) has access to some additional resources. The SCDOC been awarded a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for the fourth year. In total, the SBA is awarding $17.4 million to 40 states in this year’s round of STEP grants, which are designed to support and encourage small business export success. South Carolina was awarded its full requested amount of $349,218.
As a critical component of the state’s economic development efforts, the South Carolina Department of Commerce continues to expand its export initiatives. Last year, in an effort to build on the success of its own STEP program, the Department of Commerce created South Carolina Opportunities for Promoting Exports, or SCOPE. Over the last five years, these two programs have generated approximately $7 million in export sales, helping South Carolina companies sell products to more than 25 different countries around the world.
“We were excited to be involved in this program upon its inception five years ago, and we look forward to doing so again. As South Carolina continues to elevate itself in the global marketplace, it is important that businesses of all sizes that wish to expand their markets have the resources to do so,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
Helping small and medium-sized businesses seize export opportunities, the grant reimburses small business participation in South Carolina Department of Commerce trade missions, major trade exhibitions, such as the Farnborough International Airshow and involvement in U.S. Commercial Service programs. It also finances export training and other export related-initiatives by the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
The growth of South Carolina’s international trade footprint is evident by the fact that 2014 represented the state’s fifth consecutive record year for export sales. In addition to providing downstream impacts throughout the supply chain, supporting jobs in the transportation, distribution and logistics sector, South Carolina’s export activity also boosts volume through the state’s ports. In fiscal year 2015, the Port of Charleston handled approximately 1.9 million 20-foot equivalent units, up 14 percent from the previous year.
South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said the state’s small business export initiative is a contributor to the port’s success.
“Export cargo is an essential driver of the S.C. Ports Authority’s above-market growth, and we serve South Carolina manufacturers and exporters of all sizes. Our modern facilities and deepwater harbor, both now and in the future, are assets that will continue to support the logistics needs of our state’s growing exporters,” Newsome said.
Eligible companies may apply to participate in STEP from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. Interested participants may learn more and apply online.

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