Nevada State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant
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Helping Nevada small businesses export their Product or Service Internationally

The Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) continues to promote the export growth of Nevada products and services that are grown, created, made, or enhanced 51% or more in the state. We aim to create and expand export opportunities for new-to-export companies and socially and economically disadvantaged business communities, such as rural, women-owned, veteran, and minority-owned businesses.

All STEP funds are derivative of the Federal SBA STEP to provide financial awards to states and territories to assist small businesses with export development. The Nevada STEP grant ensures that our small businesses have opportunities to expand their markets, grow their business, and create new jobs. More than 55,000 jobs are created by exports in Nevada each year.

Nevada’s STEP successfully promotes Nevada companies through various activities via a reimbursement grant. Past examples of fund usage includes: Nevada GOED trade and education missions abroad, booth/exhibition space at international trade shows, sales trips abroad, participation in trade shows in Nevada, and international marketing expenses.

Nevada GOED International Trade Division is the proud recipient of President’s “E” Award for sustained commitment to export expansion. 

Over the past decade Nevada had aggressively pursued its mission to assist businesses in reducing unemployment and bolstering the economy to drive industry diversification and exports. In these significant and unique times, Nevada will create new, high-wage jobs and the STEP grant will enable Nevada GOED to capture those opportunities.


Due to Nevada GOED’s success in assisting Nevada businesses utilizing U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), in August and September 2021 the SBA has awarded Nevada with another export promotion grant in the amount of $250,000 for STEP 9 Continuation Year and the additional funding in the amount of $100,000 on the top of already awarded $149,500 for STEP 9 Base Year, bringing the total STEP 9 award to $499,500. This is the largest STEP award Nevada has received over the course of the past ten years since the state’s involvement with the SBA grant. The total funding to Nevada GOED since 2011 is now over $2 million. The program directly benefits Nevada small business exporters / eligible small business concerns and the grant objective is to increase the number of Nevada exporters, increase export sales, and support underserved small business communities.


Nevada GOED's International Division successfully closed out SBA STEP 8 grant with 100% utilization rate of federal funds in April 2021, six months ahead of the official closing date. STEP exporting companies generated over $13 million in export sales and yielded a 50.4-to-1 return on investment. The grant has assisted 39 Nevada companies (out of which 17 are new-to-export and 18 self-certified as disadvantaged small business communities (Minority, Women-owned, Veteran-owned, Rural, and Other Disadvantaged Businesses), almost doubling the number of supported small businesses compared to the previous grant year. Companies clustered around manufacturing, information technology, professional, scientific, and technical services, agriculture, and wholesale trade have been mainly focused on the global markets in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.


Nevada will be again the first in the nation to close out the STEP 9 Base Year grant with 100% utilization due to the increase demand among Nevada exporters. In only the last 10 months, the Nevada GOED International Division team has been able to successfully close two STEP grants, for the first time reaching 100% funds utilization rate for STEP 7 and STEP 8. Nevada was the first state in the US to close STEP 8 grant to help small businesses capitalize on export promotion and international opportunities. The best results in Nevada’s STEP history have been achieved during COVID-19 pandemic and required an extraordinary level of GOED International Division Team’s engagement, dedication, and community outreach.

STEP has been providing resources to Nevada small businesses to help them tap into new markets and increase their international sales.


“Benefits of exporting for Nevada small businesses are increased competitiveness, increased sales, higher profits, lower costs, reduced vulnerability and extending the product life cycle,” said Michael Brown, GOED Executive Director. “Exports lead to domestic production. Domestic production requires domestic labor which leads to an increase in employment in our state. There have been more than 50,000 jobs created by exports in Nevada last year.”


Bon Tool successfully continues to grow as a global leader in the manufacture of professional construction tools for the trowel trades.


“Through the grant money awarded by GOED this year alone we have secured export sales to over 30 countries. Our primary focus was to increase our customer base in Latin America and South America. We made many meaningful contacts and were able to convert them into sales…even in these uncertain times.”, said John Bongiovanni, Bon Tool President


Retro Manufacturing, 2020 Nevada Small Business Exporter of the Year utilized the grant for a foreign market sales trip and compliance testing. Leading producer of audio components for the classic vehicle market and proactive supporter of the automotive restoration around the globe shared with us the advantages of the grant.


"The STEP Grant has allowed us to meet our international dealers face-to-face and better address their customers' specific wants and needs. We have been given opportunities we normally wouldn't have, which has led to an increase in our export sales of over 30%.”


Cultiva, Nevada based producer of food-grade biofilm technology used the grant for compliance testing of their product.


“The STEP grant allowed Cultiva to expand our research and development efforts in Europe, a market of significant importance for us as we continue to grow and deliver solutions to increase marketable yields for growers across the globe”, shared Luis Hernandez, CEO

Customers in 191 countries and territories buy Nevada-made goods and services. STEP clients are increasing their competitiveness and selling of their goods and services to customers overseas during COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, jobs are more important than ever, and export is a significant tool that generates jobs for Nevada. To boost their international sales, small businesses will directly benefit from online sales market research, cross-border digital marketing, selling on marketplaces, eCommerce innovation lab, market intelligence, access to the global direct-to consumer logistics, foreign market sales trips, (virtual) international trade shows, (virtual) foreign trade missions, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, export research tools, compliance testing, design of marketing media, website translation, localization, and search engine optimization.


Nevada GOED is building a pipeline to develop small businesses into new exporters and support existing exporters through community partnerships and outreach events. GOED also promotes export development opportunities and assists small businesses through a network of community partners, such as regional development authorities, chambers of commerce, Small Business Development Center, Nevada Industry Excellence, Department of Commerce, SBA Nevada District Office, and other Nevada Global partners.


A key to expanding any business is finding more customers and 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside of the U.S.


In 2021, Nevada exports amounted to $10.55 billion in goods.


1. Read the SBA Small Business Eligibility Criteria:

To receive STEP funds, your company must have all of the following:

  • A for-profit business registered in Nevada;
  • Physically located & operational in Nevada at least one year;
  • Not barred from federal funds;
  • One or more full-time employees;
  • Export-ready company seeking to export goods or services of U.S. origin OR have at least 51% U.S. content;
  • Sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade;
  • Small business in accordance with SBA guidelines and size standards:, or Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

Do you meet these mandatory requirements? If yes, move on.

2. Read the Nevada STEP List of Allowable Activities:

Nevada STEP funds can be used for a variety of activities or expenses related to export promotion for your company. Below is a federally mandated list of allowable costs available for STEP funds:

  • International trade shows held in the U.S. and worldwide;
  • Foreign trade missions led by Nevada GOED (contact us for more details) or U.S. Department of Commerce (;
  • Design and development of website, with an international focus and E-commerce;
  • Participation in export training workshops;
  • Shipping sample products;
  • Compliance testing of existing product for entry into an export market;
  • Website translation into foreign language, search engine optimization, and localization services;
  • Digital international marketing;
  • Foreign market sales trips;

The following U.S. Commercial Service subscription services:

Gold Key Services:
Make pre-screened appointments with potential overseas agents, distributors, sales representatives, business partners and other local in-country entities;

Market Intelligence:

  • Customized Market Research answers questions about an overseas market including market trends and size, customary distribution and promotion practices, market entry requirements, regulations, product standards and registration, key competitors and potential agents, distributors, or strategic partners;
  • The Initial Market Check is an initial assessment of the market potential of a product or service in a targeted market. The service gauges the potential of a specific product or service in a market by gathering feedback from up to five industry participants and provides recommendations on whether to pursue the target market.

Matchmaking Services:

  • International Partner Search provides U.S. firms with a list of up to five agents, distributors and partners that have expressed an interest in your product or service;International Partner Search Plus Virtual Introductions provides U.S. firms with a list of up to five agents, distributors and partners that have expressed an interest in your product or service, and includes virtual introductions via teleconference to the identified contacts.

eCommerce Innovation Lab:
Provides U.S. exporters with tools/resources to explore and leverage eCommerce channels. Learn more at:

Due Diligence on Foreign Parties:

  • International Company Profile - Full  in -depth background check information on a specific foreign company to help determine its suitability as potential business partner;
  • International Company Profile – Partial

In-Country Promotion of Products or Services:

  • Single Company Promotion provides U.S. companies with promotional services to help increase the awareness of their product/service in a specific market. The promotion may consist of targeted direct mail or e-mail campaigns;
  • Featured U.S. Exporters Listing provides U.S. companies with an opportunity to enhance their international marketing efforts through improved search engine optimization.

RAISE (Rural America Intelligence Service for Exporters):
A new research service for rural companies used for worldwide matrix, country research, potential partner search.

Are you ready to utilize these activities to start or expand your international export presence? If yes, move on.

3. Create a plan for using STEP funds:

Are you ready to apply for the STEP grant? After reading the list of eligible expenses that STEP can be used for, decide what would be most beneficial to helping your business.

Are you looking to purchase international marketing? Would you like to do market research or a training about entering international markets? Are you ready to take a sales trip abroad to meet with distributors? Or, are you going to join GOED on a trade mission? These are all questions to help guide you for making a business plan and strategy for export promotion abroad.

What are some goals you have for receiving these funds? Are you looking to gain clients? Grow revenue? Would exporting help you create new jobs or roles in your company? STEP funds require expected program outcomes and goals. Having clear result-driven initiatives for your export-based goals will ensure you make the most of the STEP program funds.

Once you have a clear idea or plan of what you hope to do with STEP funds as well as your expected outcomes for participating in the program, you are ready to move on.

4. Apply with the Application Link Below
Link to Application

5. Introduce yourself to the Nevada GOED STEP team:

We are excited to learn more about you and answer any questions that you may have about the competitive process and next steps. Please reach out so we can have a conversation!

Nevada Director, U.S. Small Business Administration STEP:
Dijana Mitrovic:

Nevada STEP Client Manager:
Avrey Callis:

Funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.