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TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of State’s Business Action Center announced Sept. 22 that it has been awarded $1.25 million in federal funds for the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to support businesses looking to export goods.

According to a release, the New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) received funding for the New Jersey STEP (NJSTEP) program to provide financial awards on a first-come, first-served competitive basis to eligible New Jersey small businesses that are new to export, as well as those businesses who currently sell their goods and services to other countries. The program is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“The goal of the program is to provide New Jersey companies with the resources and the knowledge needed to succeed when entering the global marketplace,” stated New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “This year’s increase in funding will allow the NJBAC to help additional companies realize export opportunities, and we look forward to seeing how this will impact the state’s economy.”

The state’s successful NJSTEP program has been awarded funding for nine consecutive years. This year’s funding is the largest in the program’s history, having increased by 25% compared to 2020. The program has previously assisted hundreds of businesses, leading to millions of dollars in export sales around the world.

“If your business has already realized the potential of a global market or an entrepreneur seeking to increase sales and profit by taking your business worldwide, we encourage you to look into applying for a NJSTEP grant,” stated New Jersey Business Action Center Executive Director Melanie Willoughby.

During the Covid pandemic, new opportunities under the NJSTEP program emerged. Online activities expanded comprehensive export promotion activities for recipients, including translation of websites, product literature and catalogs. This contrasts with NJSTEP recipients' previous reliance on traditional trade shows and missions for export promotion.

Recipients that have previously benefited from the STEP grant award include GY Highland Biotech LLC, a medical equipment supplier, who researches and manufactures in vitro and cancer diagnostics. The firm received an NJ STEP award to translate its website into Italian, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.

Among other awardees include Silver Defender, who manufactures antimicrobial films that cover a wide array of high-touch surfaces. The firm received an NJ STEP award for an international billboard to reach buyers in the United Kingdom.

The NJ STEP is administered by the New Jersey Business Action Center’s (NJBAC) Office of Export Promotion, both housed within the New Jersey Department of State. 

The application portal for the NJSTEP program opens Oct 1. To learn more, visit the organization’s website, at nj.gov/state/bac, or call 1‑800‑JERSEY‑7.

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