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SBA awards Empire State Development $250K in funding to boost exporting activity

By Eric Reinhardt (


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says it will provide $250,000 to the Empire State Development’s (ESD) Global NY division.

It’s part of the newest round of awards in the State Trade Expansion (STEP) grant program, which seeks to “support export growth” among U.S. small businesses.

ESD will also provide nearly $135,000 in matching funds to coincide with the federal award, SBA said.

Approved STEP funds can assist New York small businesses with participation in programmed foreign trade missions; subscription to services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce; trade show exhibition (international and qualified domestic trade shows); participation in export training workshops; and qualified foreign-market sales trips

“Air Innovations in North Syracuse is a great example of how a local small business can flourish by entering global markets. As of last year, one third of their total business was through exports,” Bernard J. Paprocki, district director of SBA’s Syracuse office, said in a statement. “SBA’s STEP grant program allowed the Onondaga County business to transform their businesses’ initial focus on floral coolers to meet refrigeration, air conditioning and filtration needs for the aerospace, military, semiconductor and pharmaceutical sectors around the world.”

“The opportunities for small businesses to grow through exporting are substantial, especially during this unprecedented time. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a paradigm shift to increased web-based sales and virtual trade missions,” Steve Bulger, SBA Regional Administrator, added. “Ninety-six percent of a small business’ potential customers live outside the U.S. and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries.”

Bulger oversees the federal agency’s operations in the Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic regions.

He notes the SBA’s STEP program is designed to meet three distinctive goals.

The first is to increase the number of small businesses that export not only in New York, but around the nation. The second is to boost the value of exports for small businesses, and the third goal is to increase the number of small businesses “exploring significant new trade opportunities.”



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