Maryland Commerce Awarded Federal Grant to Support International Initiatives

$777,579 STEP grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to support

export promotion programs, opening of new foreign offices

BALTIMORE, MD (October 11, 2016) – 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 $777,579 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 the opening of new foreign offices, attending overseas trade shows in targeted industry sectors, and helping to fund the state’s ExportMD program, which provides matching grants of up to $6,000 to help Maryland companies market their goods and services to global customers. Maryland is the seventh largest recipient in this year’s round of STEP grants and is part of more than $18 million being awarded to 44 states, territories, and Washington, D.C.

This is the fourth time that Maryland has received STEP funding through the SBA program. Last year, Maryland Commerce was awarded a $518,413 grant that was used to support the ExportMD program and other export promotion initiatives. With the additional funding last year, the ExportMD program assisted 66 small businesses in the state, leveraging $94 million in new export sales and creating 300 new jobs.

“We are proud that Maryland has once again been chosen to receive this grant, which has served as a catalyst for job creation and millions in new sales at Maryland companies,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our ExportMD program has been one of our most successful business assistance programs, helping hundreds of companies connect with new global customers and attend international trade shows where they can sell their goods and services.”

“When we consider that more than 90 percent of the world’s customers are outside the U.S., it is critical that businesses of all sizes consider expanding to global markets or risk losing sales as well as a competitive edge,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “We thank our partners at the U.S. Small Business Administration for once again helping us to broaden our international reach and ensuring that businesses have the support and resources they need to explore overseas markets.”

“Exporting is an important growth opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “These STEP awards, in addition to SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help small businesses across our nation have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global.”

Pevco, a manufacturer of hospital equipment in Middle River, credits the grant programs with expanding its global reach and participation at international tradeshows.

“We traveled with Maryland Commerce to Arab Health 2016, the largest healthcare show in the Middle East. We found such value in the show that we have decided to increase our presence next year and have our own booth,” said William Powder, Pevco’s vice president of international sales. “To date, we have closed on several $1 million projects in the Middle East and have a very healthy sales pipeline for the foreseeable future.”

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 11 foreign trade offices, including Canada (Montreal), China (Shanghai), Taiwan (Taipei), South Korea (Seoul), Africa (Nigeria), Mexico (Mexico City), Brazil (Sao Paulo), France (Paris), Israel (Tel Aviv), India (Delhi), 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 commerce.maryland.gov.
Karen Glenn Hood
Director
Media Relations and Public Affairs
Maryland Department of Commerce
401 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
O 410-767-6318 | C 443-463-8129