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State Trade and Export Promotion

The North Dakota Trade Office is excited to announce the launch of STEP ND, a financial reimbursement program designed to assist small, North Dakota businesses in growing their international exports. STEP ND funds are provided by The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), through its State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant. The one-year STEP ND program will run Oct. 1, 2012 - Sept. 30, 2013.

Qualified activities for STEP ND:

  • Foreign trade missions
  • Foreign trade shows
  • Domestic trade shows with an international buyer presence
  • Foreign market sales trips
  • Reverse trade missions
  • Promote the programs of: US Commercial Services, Food Export Midwest, ND Small Business Development Center, Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership, ND District Export Council
  • Export training and education through: NDTO's Export Management Course, ExporTech, Export 101, Innovation Jump Start, NDTO's Trade Talks
  • Website translation to a foreign language
  • Foreign marketing materials

Applications and accompanying information can be obtained on NDTO's website at

For questions regarding STEP ND, email

The mission of STEP ND is to enhance the ability of export-ready North Dakota small businesses to expand their export sales and marketing programs and increase or retain jobs as a result of the use of the grant funds. STEP ND is designed to channel resources to North Dakota companies to strengthen their export plans and increase ND's presence in the global economy. Whether your company is currently exporting or new to export, there is assistance available for you.

The North Dakota Trade Office through administration of the US Small Business Administration, Office of International Trade's State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program will make available a maximum of $671,437 for development of STEP ND. These funds will be available effective October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013 and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, provided the applicant company has been deemed qualified according to program guidelines and requirements. Regardless of the program's ending dates identified elsewhere, when all the STEP ND funds have been committed and/or paid out, no more applications will be accepted.

Funds will be used to assist eligible companies as follows:
Expense reimbursement up to $4,000 per qualifying activity with a maximum of three events for foreign trade missions, foreign and domestic trade shows, foreign market sales trips and reverse trade missions. Qualifying expenses include trade show booth space rental, economy-class airfare on a US airline (Fly America Act), lodging, travel to a domestic trade show, subscription to a US Commercial Service product (or similar service), Food Export Midwest Market Builder services.Expense reimbursement up to $1,000 per company for website foreign language translation and/or production of foreign language marketing materials.Reduced participation fees to attend Trade Talks, Export 101 training, ExporTech and Export Management Course.Program sponsorships through partnerships with various state and regional entities to provide export related assistance to ND companies.

Participation in STEP ND is open to any North Dakota small business as defined under SBA guidelines meeting the operational definition as required by the State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program.