There is an initiative that might be of interest to you: Virginia (via the VEDP) has been awarded a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant this year from the SBA. The goal of the grant is to support SMEs to start their export programs. One unique element of the program is digital marketing support: this year’s upcoming STEP Grant has an option for companies to be reimbursed up to $3,000 for website translation and localization/SEO in international markets – and they can use a provider of their choice!
Note that the Grant year runs from September 30, 2015 to September 29, 2016, so all expenses need to be incurred during that time frame. If you have a referral for a company that is new-to-export or expanding into a new market – and ideally new to VEDP - they may be eligible to receive the grant. There are some stipulations and the company needs to meet SBA’s definition of an Eligible Small Business Concern. I’ve listed these below.
- Complies with SBA size standards found at 13 C.F.R. Part 121 (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=50ff66d5d1cc9357d5f4ce114fcc5c79&mc=true&node=pt13.1.121&rgn=div5#sp13.1.121.a);
- Has been in business for not less than the 1-year period ending on the date on which assistance is provided under a STEP grant;
- Is operating profitably, based on operations in the United States;
- Has demonstrated understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers, including the costs of freight forwarding, customs brokers, packing and shipping; and,
- Has in effect a strategic plan for exporting.
One of our DEC members, Laszlo Horvath of Active Media (email@example.com) has offered assistance to introduce digital marketing to local SMEs to anyone who is interested. Also, if you would like to find out about other opportunities under the STEP Grant program please let me know.
Virginia-Washington, DC District Export Council