WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe today announced the Maine International Trade Center (MITC) has been awarded $146,000 in competitive grant funding through the State Trade and Export Program (STEP) in support of their efforts to increase small business exports.  According to MITC, the competitive grant award will fund resources to connect small businesses with export prospects, including matchmaking, trade shows and access to international trade data for small exporters.

“With uncertainty over tax, regulatory and trade policies emanating from Washington, programs like STEP provide invaluable assistance to job creators and entrepreneurs looking to expand their business and add to their payrolls,” said Senator Snowe, the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  “This award is welcome news and will allow the Maine International Trade Center to add to its success in bringing international trading opportunities to our exceptional small businesses and innovators throughout the state.”

“Getting small business to travel to trade shows or go overseas is often the hardest part,” said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, President of MITC and State Director of International Trade.  “Maine’s companies offer world-class, cutting edge products and services.  Often the biggest barrier to entry is the cost of matchmaking services or trade show exhibit costs that may be insignificant to large companies, but can be a dealbreaker to small businesses.”

BACKGROUND:  Senator Snowe is the author of the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP), a 3-year pilot trade and export initiative, which was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.   The purpose of STEP is to assist in increasing small business exports so they can grow and create jobs.