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Minnesota Trade Office awarded over $500K for export promotion program

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Trade Office was awarded $564,132 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to fund the Minnesota State Trade and Export Promotion program known as STEP.

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Trade Office was awarded $564,132 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to fund the Minnesota State Trade and Export Promotion program known as STEP.

Minnesota's share of the federal program's funding, for the Federal Fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2015, is the 12th highest out of 40 awards and about 20 percent greater than last year's award.

"Exports create new jobs and increased revenue in Minnesota," said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben, in a news release. "The increase in federal funding for the STEP program will allow us to serve even more small business customers desiring to sell goods and services globally."

The program is open to first-time exporters or current exporters that are interested in expanding into new international markets. Qualifying companies can use the funding to participate in foreign trade missions, trade shows and other export-related activities.

Through June, 50 small businesses were approved for more than $309,000 in STEP funding. Companies have used the funding to explore markets in the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Peru, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Australia, Germany, China, Sweden, Vietnam, Liberia, Brazil and Spain.

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Companies that tapped the program to participate on Gov. Mark Dayton's successful trade mission to Mexico, Minnesota's second largest trading-partner, include: Loll Designs (Duluth), Susan Burns LLC (Minneapolis), Goebel Fixture Company (Hutchinson), Prototype Career Service (St. Paul), Cotter Schools (Winona), Bioverse, Inc. (Worthington), Minnesota Soybean Processors (Brewster) and Brimacomb & Associates (Minneapolis).

The DEED's Minnesota Trade Office is focused on increasing state export sales in foreign markets and attracting foreign direct investment to Minnesota. The MTO promotes international trade by providing export information, export education and training, and one-on-one counseling to Minnesota companies that wish to sell manufactured goods and services in the international marketplace.

And MTO representatives also promote the state's economic interests through four overseas offices: Shanghai, China; Düsseldorf, Germany; Seoul, South Korea; and São Paolo, Brazil.

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. Go to mn.gov/deed/ for more details.

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