Nevada State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant

Nevada STEP Grant Opportunities

Nevada has a strong foundation from which to continue to grow its international trade efforts. A focus on enhanced globalization projects at both the state and regional levels will assist Nevada companies to begin to export their products and services and many others to increase export. 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 GOED to capture those opportunities.

Due to 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 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.

As Governor Steve Sisolak’s priority is to help small businesses, he underlined the following in the press release when GOED awarded new businesses for their global expansion: “Small businesses are the backbone of Nevada’s economy and supporting their expansion into foreign markets will help them grow. The stronger our small businesses are, the stronger Nevada’s economy will be as a whole.”

GOED 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 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.

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. 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 2020, exports amounted to $10.35 billion in goods.

In today’s modern global economy, businesses that think and work globally will thrive. Data shows that small businesses that export are outperforming those that do not. They not only increase their sales but are also able to pay higher wages and employ more workers. Nevada has identified a new goal to support the export growth of “Made in Nevada” products that are grown, created, made, or enhanced with more than 51% in Nevada, and create export opportunities for new-to-export, socially and economically disadvantaged business communities, such as rural, women-owned, veteran, and minority-owned businesses. The STEP grant program makes sure that our small businesses have the opportunity to expand their markets, grow their business, and create new jobs. More than 55,000 jobs are created by exports in Nevada each year.

Small Business Eligibility Criteria:

  • 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.

List of Allowable Activities:

  • Design and development of website, with an international focus and E-commerce;
  • Participation in an online 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;
  • Virtual trade shows;
  • 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) is a new research service for rural companies used for worldwide matrix, country research, potential partner search .

Link to Application


Success Stories and Events:

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

10th Anniversary  of STEP Grant Program


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

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