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Shaheen Announces Grant to Help Small Businesses Increase Exports

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today that New Hampshire will receive $299,493 to help more small businesses increase their exports by reaching new foreign markets. The funding comes from the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant program, which was created by the Small Business Jobs Act, legislation Shaheen helped craft as a member of the Senate Small Business Committee. 
 
“Exports represent a tremendous potential for growth for small businesses in the United States, and we need to do more to help them reach foreign markets, so that they can grow and create jobs,” Shaheen said. “This grant is well-tailored to New Hampshire’s economy because it will help more businesses reach two fast-growing markets, China and India, while also encouraging more export growth in aerospace and defense.”

The STEP grant will enhance the state’s International Trade Resource Center (ITRC) efforts to help small businesses in New Hampshire prepare for new markets, comply with trade regulations, access export financing, and attend trade missions. With this grant, the ITRC will create specialized programs to focus on foreign markets that have the highest growth potential and industries that have the greatest and most immediate ability to compete successfully in the world marketplace. 
 
“We are thrilled that the New Hampshire business community will be able to benefit from this grant which is dedicated to helping local companies maximize their opportunities abroad,” said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “At a time when demands for exports are at an all-time high for our small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, this grant will allow us to provide assistance in key areas of need. We commend Senator Shaheen, Governor Lynch and all of our partners including the New Hampshire offices of the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce for their commitment to helping New Hampshire businesses gain access to the international marketplace.”
 
“The SBA is thrilled to support the State of New Hampshire’s already successful export efforts,” said Jeanne A. Hulit, regional administrator of the SBA.  “The President has set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years.  New Hampshire is already leading the country with the highest percentage growth in exports in 2010.  This grant will further help New Hampshire’s small businesses export their products and services, creating new jobs.  We commend Senator Shaheen for her support for including the STEP grants as a key part of the Jobs Act.”

The STEP program was designed to support the efforts of state and local export assistance programs. These programs help small businesses overcome obstacles that stand in the way of accessing foreign markets, such as a lack of expertise or resources. At a recent Small Business Committee field hearing on small business exporting, Shaheen heard from several small businesses that have relied on the expertise and assistance of the ITRC to grow their businesses through exporting. The program was originally conceived of in the Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act of 2009 (S.2862), which Shaheen supported and which was later folded into the Small Business Jobs Act.

A member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, Shaheen has consistently worked to aid small companies in reaching foreign customers.   In August, she hosted a Small Business Committee field hearing in Manchester with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to examine ways to help small businesses export.  In January, Shaheen held a pair of roundtable discussions with New Hampshire small business owners on the federal resources available to help small businesses export with Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg.
 
In New Hampshire, exporting has become an increasingly important part of the state’s economy.  Last year, New Hampshire companies set a state record for international sales and ranked first among all states in export growth, increasing their exports by $1 billion.  In a difficult economic climate, this new revenue has provided a critical boost to many New Hampshire businesses.

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