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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Kuster Touts Bill to Boost Small Business Exports During “Congress at Your Company” Stop at Innovative FOTO in Salem

Nov 4, 2013
Press Release

Innovative FOTO was recently awarded a State Trade and Export Program (STEP) grant to help expand its reach into the South American market

Kuster’s legislation would extend the successful STEP program and double the annual funding available from $30 million to $60 million, helping even more NH businesses grow their exports and create jobs

Kuster: Expanding this program is an important step forward for NH small businesses

SALEM, N.H. – As part of her commitment to helping create jobs and opportunity for middle class families, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today continued her “Congress at Your Company” series with a visit to Innovative FOTO in Salem, where she highlighted legislation she recently introduced that would 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), a successful grant program that has helped dozens of Granite State companies like Innovative FOTO 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. “Companies like Innovative FOTO have used STEP grants to expand their reach and send more of their products around the world. My legislation to extend and expand this important program will help even more Granite State businesses export their goods, create middle class jobs, and grow New Hampshire’s 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 receive no additional funding 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.

“As a global business, we have worked hard to bring our products to every part of the world,” said Dale Valvo, President and CEO of Innovative FOTO. “Our photo booths and other products can now be found everywhere from the United States to the United Kingdom to Australia and beyond, and thanks in part to STEP funding, we’re expanding further into the South American market, as well. This program has helped us grow our business and reach more customers around the world.”

To date, STEP has awarded nearly $60 million to states and territories around the country. Combined, small businesses participating in STEP are estimated to have exported $636 million through 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.

A member of the House Small Business Committee, Kuster’s top priority is helping create jobs and opportunity for middle class families in New Hampshire. The first bill she authored would incentivize public-private partnerships to improve workforce development for New Hampshire students.  She has also supported legislation to make permanent the federal research and development tax credit, helped lead the fight to prevent pending regulations from harming New England farmers, and worked to protect New Hampshire small businesses from burdensome online sales tax collection requirements.