(Rochester and Exeter, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), today welcomed U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman to Rochester and Exeter, New Hampshire. In Rochester, they visited MADCO3D to highlight the impact of the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), which Chair Shaheen helped to create as a pilot program in 2010. STEP helps American small businesses compete internationally. Chair Shaheen and Administrator Guzman then participated in a walking tour of small businesses in Exeter to officially kick off the SBA’s Season of Small Business tour and encourage shopping small during the holiday season. Pictures and video from the tour are available upon request.

“Since helping to create STEP over ten years ago, I’ve seen how the program has worked to support American small businesses. STEP provides entrepreneurs with increased access and resources to compete internationally, grow their businesses and support their local communities,” said Chair Shaheen. “I thank Administrator Guzman for visiting the Granite State and kicking off the Season of Small Business tour alongside our small business owners. Together, we will continue working to ensure small businesses receive the necessary resources to help our local communities prosper.”

Chair Shaheen helped create STEP as a pilot program in 2010. The program was fully authorized by Shaheen’s small business trade amendment, which was signed into law in 2016. Since its creation, STEP has awarded $235.5 million in grants and directly supported over 13,000 small businesses' international expansion and export growth. In 2022, every $1 in STEP funding yielded $43 in U.S. export sales, a 43:1 return on investment (ROI). The most recent STEP annual report shows that New Hampshire used its FY 2020 STEP grant to fund 28 New to Export firms and 37 Market Expansion firms for a total of 65 small businesses. New Hampshire’s FY 2020 ROI was 46:1, higher than the U.S. average ROI.

In September 2023, SBA announced the distribution of $20 million in grants to 49 state and territory international trade agencies across the country. New Hampshire's Office of International Commerce was awarded $444,366, the largest STEP grant the state has received to date.

The Season of Small Business is a new SBA-led campaign designed to drive Americans to support small businesses during the holiday season. This month-long push by the SBA throughout December will encourage Americans to continue shopping and dining small all holiday season long.