Grant aid Colorado businesses with export efforts

Isabella Guzman
Frances Padilla

A state agency will receive $700,000 to help small businesses in Colorado sell their products and services on a global scale.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is among a total of 49 state and territory agencies that will share $20 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

“For over 10 years, the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program has been an important federal and state partnership to get funding directly to small businesses seeking to grow their businesses and our economy with international trade opportunities,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “And with these funds, small businesses can get trade ready, attend trade shows in foreign markets and grow through global e-commerce.”

Frances Padilla, director of the SBA Colorado District,  also praised the program.

“Over two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power resides outside the United States. That makes exporting a critical economic driver for Colorado small businesses that are ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets,” Padilla said. “These STEP awards, in addition to SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, make sure that small companies across the state have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global.”

Since its creation in 2010 as part of the Small Business Jobs Act, the STEP program has awarded more than $235 million in grants and directly supported the efforts of more than 13,000 small businesses.

In 2022, every $1 in STEP funding yielded $43 in export sales.   

STEP awards help entrepreneurs compete globally by offsetting costs incurred by export-related activities, including participating in foreign trade missions, designing international marketing campaigns, participating in export trade show exhibits and attending training workshops.

For more information about the STEP program, visit