Missouri gets nearly $600,000 to support small business exports
COLUMBIA - The United States Small Business Administration provided Missouri with nearly $600,000 in federal funding to help Missouri businesses export products to new markets in Central and South America, Governor Jay Nixon announced Wednesday.
The funding is part of the State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program. STEP awards grants to help small businesses increase the number of goods and the number of countries states sell products to. The International unit of the Missouri Department of Economic Development will administer the distribution of the $599,000 grant.
The Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers is an extension of the University of Missouri that focuses on supporting business growth, and local and regional economic development through job creation and retention. The SBTDC found that small and mid-sized businesses make up almost 97 percent of U.S. exports.
"There's a market for Columbia businesses outside the United States," said Larry Dill, the director of the International Trade Center of the MU extension. "96 percent of the worlds consumers live outside the United States. Over two thirds of the worlds purchasing power is outside the United States. Where would a company look for new markets? Outside the United States."
The International Trade Administration is a branch of the United States Department of Commerce. The ITA found $14.1 billion of goods exported from Missouri in 2014. The ITA also found Missouri's top five exported goods were transportation equipment, chemicals, processed food, machinery, and electrical equipment in 2014.
"Exporting creates local jobs. It's all about jobs. Jobs are incredibly important especially as our economy changes," Dill said.
Nixon said the STEP grant will be used to focus on export and trade promotion activities in key global regions, including Central America and South America. The funding will help incentivize Missouri exporters to focus their targets on the countries of Colombia, Panama and Peru.