Department of Small and Local Business Development

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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 2010 President's Small Business Jobs Act.

Business eligibility for STEP funding

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

  • Have a DC basic or professional business license,  DC business registration, and principal office 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;
  • 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);
  • Be currently exporting, and/or have the capacity to export to new international markets; and

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;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce trade and market assessment services, including International Partner Search, Gold Key Service, 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 [email protected].

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