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 [email protected].

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