Kuster Introduces Bill to Boost Small Business Exports In Granite State
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of her commitment to helping create jobs and opportunity for middle class families, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today introduced common sense legislation to help boost small business exports in the Granite State. Kuster’s bill, the Small Business Growth Through Exports Act, would extend and expand the State Trade and Export Promotion program (STEP), which has helped dozens of Granite State companies expand their exports, create jobs, and grow New Hampshire’s economy.
“My top priority in Congress is helping create jobs and opportunity for the middle class, and boosting small business exports is a key part of that goal,” Kuster said. “Since its inception, the STEP program has helped companies in New Hampshire and around the country grow and send their products all around the world. Extending and expanding this program will help even more Granite State businesses export their goods, create middle class jobs, and grow our economy.”
Launched in 2010, the STEP program was created to help grow the number of businesses exporting their goods and to increase the value of U.S. exports on the global market. The program, which will expire on September 30 without Congressional action, helps businesses attend international trade shows, supports export training programs, and assists with the development of international marketing materials, among other efforts to boost exports. Kuster’s Small Business Growth Through Exports Act would extend the program for another three years, and double the federal funding available each year from $30 million to $60 million.
To date, STEP has awarded nearly $60 million to states and territories around the country. Combined, small businesses participating in STEP are estimated to export $636 million in fiscal year 2013, representing a return on federal investment of 10-to-1. To date, New Hampshire has received nearly $600,000 in federal funds to assist to local companies through this program. That funding has helped more than 60 Granite State companies better market their products and find new business partners around the world.
“The STEP grant has been a huge help to us,” said Paul Vermette, president of Tech Resources, Inc., a Milford defense firm, which is using a STEP grant to help launch a website for a new line of communications technology for military aircraft and ground vehicles. “We’ve been around for 35 years now. We don’t have a very large presence on the internet. This funding is going to have a big impact helping us reach possible customers around the world.”
“This STEP funding has absolutely given me a push I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Dr. Naim Syed, Chief Information Officer of OLK 12, an education technology firm that provides resources and support to academic institutions around the world. Syed, who started the company out of his Canterbury home based on his doctoral research, used a STEP grant to cover travel costs to Asia and the Middle East, where he recruited new clients. “I was able to figure out what the needs are by going to these regions. It helped me find new clients and grow my business. This program could have a big impact on many companies in New Hampshire and around the country.”
A member of the House Small Business Committee, Kuster’s top priority in Congress is helping create jobs and opportunity for middle class families in New Hampshire. Earlier this year, she introduced the Workforce Development Investment Act, legislation that would provide tax credits to employers that partner with community colleges and other educational institutions to strengthen workforce development for students. The bill was recently added to the “Make It In America” jobs plan, which focuses on creating the best conditions for businesses to innovate and create jobs.