Program Details

The California State Expansion Program (STEP) grant offers financial assistance to eligible California small businesses seeking to expand into foreign markets through STEP Events and Export Vouchers. Each federal fiscal year, eligible businesses can participate in up to two (2) STEP Events. Additionally, they have the opportunity to be reimbursed for up to 75% of their export promotion expenses, with a maximum award amount of $10,000 through the Export Voucher. STEP is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Eligibility

To be eligible for STEP funding, California small businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • For-profit Business
  • Organized or incorporated in the U.S.
  • Significant operations in California
  • Exporting goods or services of U.S. origin or that have at least 51% U.S. content.
  • Meet SBA small business size standards (which vary by NAICS code based on either annual receipts or number of employees)
  • Registered to do business in the State of California and in good business standing with regulatory agencies
  • In business for at least one year at the time that the funded activity takes place.
  • Have sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.

See the Program Guidelines for additional details.

Program Resources

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STEP Program Guidelines

Review program eligibility, selection criteria, and allowable expenses.

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STEP Event Application Preview

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Application Process Guide
COMING SOON

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STEP Export Voucher Application Preview

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STEP Program Training Video

Training Schedule

California STEP Grant Application Webinars

GO-Biz hosts online webinars about the California State Trade Expansion Program. Each webinar consists of a 50-minute presentation, followed by a question and answer session. Each presentation includes the following:

  • Eligibility Criteria
  • STEP Events Overview
  • Export Vouchers Overview
  • Application Process

Webinar Schedule

Date Time Information
January 16, 2024 11:00am – 12:00pm PST Details and Registration
February 13, 2024 11:00am – 12:00pm PST Details and Registration
February 27, 2024 11:00am – 12:00pm PST Details and Registration

STEP Event

Application Process

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Prepare

Review if the STEP Event is the right fit for your business objectives. Review the Eligibility Criteria and Program Guidelines to ensure you are eligible for participation.

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Apply

Submit your STEP Event application before the event recruiting deadline.

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Await Notification

GO-Biz will evaluate your application and notify your company if approved for funding, along with next steps.

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Execute

Participate in the STEP Event and execute on your export goals.

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Closeout

Share your outcomes with the GO-Biz team.

Export Voucher

Application Process

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Prepare

Prepare an Export Strategy and Plan. Review the Eligibility Criteria and Program Guidelines to ensure you are eligible for participation.

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Apply

Submit your Export Voucher application before the activity takes place and before the application deadline.

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Await Notification

GO-Biz will evaluate your application and notify your company if approved for funding, along with next steps.

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Execute

Perform the pre-approved export activity, and document participation.

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Closeout

Submit the reimbursement request and share your outcomes with the GO-Biz team.