$550,000 STEP grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration will help support the state and local businesses at overseas trade shows 

BALTIMORE, MD (October 3, 2019) – As part of a continuing effort to broaden Maryland’s international reach and help companies create jobs and access new foreign markets, the Maryland Department of Commerce has been awarded a $550,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant will be used to support Maryland Commerce’s international efforts, including attending overseas trade shows in targeted industry sectors and helping to fund the state’s ExportMD program, which provides matching grants of up to $5,000 to help Maryland companies market their goods and services to global customers. Maryland is one of the top 10 largest recipients in this year’s round of STEP grants – a total of $18 million being awarded to 41 states and territories.

“This federal funding will help Maryland’s companies create new jobs and new opportunities right here at home,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Over the years, the ExportMD program has helped hundreds of small and mid-sized companies expand their international presence and increase sales around the world.”

This is the seventh time that Maryland has received STEP funding through the SBA program. The department was also awarded a $550,000 grant in 2018 to support the ExportMD program and other initiatives. With the previous funding, the ExportMD program assisted more than 70 small businesses in the state, leveraging nearly $48 million in new export sales.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the U.S. Small Business Administration for once again supporting our state and helping us provide additional resources for our Maryland businesses,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “Our ExportMD program is a great way for companies to expand their global footprint and stay competitive, and this grant will help keep our program and other international efforts thriving.”

“SBA is proud to partner with the STEP grant winners and provide much-needed resources that help small businesses increase their sales by exporting,” said Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “The SBA’s STEP partners not only help entrepreneurs increase and diversify their customer base; they also help to create and retain local jobs.”

Matrax, Inc., a small business enterprise specializing in a revolutionary turf protection event flooring system that has been used in major stadiums and sporting venues across the globe, recently applied for the ExportMD program for a third time to travel to Hungary in 2020. The application comes following its recently announced partnership with ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium during Governor Hogan’s infrastructure and commerce mission overseas in Australia.

“The ExportMD program has had a tremendous impact on our ability to connect with international stadiums. While we have been exporting product for many years, the opportunity to meet in-person with prospects provides us with a tremendous competitive advantage,” said Nicole Andrews, managing director of global sales for Matrax Inc.

Washington County business MEDI+SIGN, a connected health platform that provides the technology behind digital patient whiteboards, is using ExportMD to join the state’s delegation to MEDICA 2019 – the world’s largest medical technology trade show. The company’s platform has had significant international interest from England and Europe, and it believes attending the international health fair will be an invaluable experience.

“We are looking to expand our international presence and we are very excited to travel abroad with the Maryland delegation,” said David Linetsky, CEO of MEDI+SIGN. “We think MEDICA will give us the opportunity to examine the market and gauge the overall interest in our product within other healthcare systems across the world.”

Maryland’s Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance, and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. The state has 16 foreign trade offices, including Africa (Durban), ASEAN countries (Singapore), Australia (Sydney), Brazil (Sao Paulo), Canada (Montreal), Chile (Santiago), China (Shanghai), Colombia (Bogota), Europe (Paris), India (Delhi), Israel (Tel Aviv), Japan (Tokyo), Mexico (Mexico City), Peru (Lima), Taiwan (Taipei), and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai).

About Maryland Commerce
The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit

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