Department of Small and Local Business Development

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State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grants

The DC STEP Program enables qualified export-ready businesses to receive reimbursements for eligible international marketing costs. The program is funded in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant, a three-year pilot program launched by the President's Small Business Jobs Act.

Business eligibility for STEP funding

To be eligible for STEP funding through ExportDC, your business must:

  • Have a principal office and business registration in the District of Columbia for at least six months prior to STEP Program approval;
  • Be in good standing with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) and submit a Clean Hands Self-Certification Form;
  • Submit a STEP program application signed by a corporate officer and indicating that the eligibility criteria will be met;
  • Have an exportable product or service at the time of application;
  • Meet the SBA small business size standard(s) for the firm's industry classification;
  • Have been in business for at least one year preceding the date of STEP grant assistance;
  • Operating profitably, based on operations in the United States from the firm's most recently completed fiscal year;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers;
  • Have in effect a strategic plan for exporting;
  • Have export products that contain a majority of U.S. content (51 percent or higher);
  • Agree to abide by the Fly America Act when utilizing STEP funds for air travel expenses;
  • Agree to not knowingly enter into any lower tier covered transaction with a person in the System for Award Management (SAM).
  • Be currently exporting, and/or have the capacity to export to new international markets; and
  • Sell a product and/or service that is export ready.

Allowable STEP expenditures

Allowable step expenditures include:

  • Participation in Small Business Trade Missions and International Conferences;
  • International or domestic trade show participation/booth fees;
  • Export Training;
  • Subscription to U.S. Department of Commerce trade and market assessment services including foreign market partner search, Gold Key Services, and International Company Profiles;
  • Website/material translation services; and,
  • We encourage applicants to propose other export marketing-related activities that they believe will grow their export potential.

Additional information on ExportDC's STEP Grant Funding

Please find our STEP grant documents (phase one) below or contact us at dslbd@dc.gov.

Service Contact: 
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 
(202) 727-3900
Contact TTY: 
Contact Suite #: 
850 North
Service Location: 

441 4th Street, NW

GIS Address: 
441 4th Street, NW