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Grants to Massachusetts Businesses to Offset Global Business Development and Marketing Costs

Massachusetts State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Massachusetts

Important Dates
Deadline: 09/30/23 5:00 PM EDT Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $15,000 to Massachusetts businesses to offset global business development and related marketing costs. Funding is intended to cover costs associated with activities such as exhibitions, shows, product testing, website localization, research, and business development services.

The STEP Program is intended to help offset international business development and related marketing costs for small businesses. Grant proceeds may be used for specific international business development and marketing costs, including:

  • Overseas trade show or conference exhibition and directly related expenses (e.g., booth space, shipping charges, carnets, attendance in conjunction with exhibiting, space to deliver technical sales seminars, etc.)
  • U.S. Department of Commerce international business development services (e.g., Gold Key Service, International Partner Search with Virtual Introductions, Single Company Promotion, International Company Profile, trade missions and other export matchmaking services, etc.)
  • Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market
  • Design of export market-specific marketing media (including design and translation of brochures, targeted advertising in industry-appropriate media, etc. – does NOT include printing)
  • Localization of websites for target export markets (including translation of websites, technical localization, and search engine optimization for export markets)
  • Research tool subscription for targeted export market research
  • International intellectual property protection filing fees with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
  • Export credit insurance policy fees through the Export-Import Bank of the United States


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Eligibility: To qualify for STEP program funding, a business must meet the definition of an "eligible small business concern" under Section 503 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. In addition, the business must meet the U.S. content requirements. Verification is the burden of the applicant.

Ineligible Activities Under the Program
-Any expenses incurred for activities taking place outside 10/1/2023-3/31/2025
-Travel, lodging, meals and other related expenses for international business development**
-Attendance only at overseas trade shows or conferences (must exhibit to be eligible)
-Domestic trade show or conference participation
-Advertising in domestic publications or design of domestic marketing media and web sites
-Domestic export development activities, such as training and other activities**
-Consulting fees, legal fees, PR fees, staffing and other staff-equivalent costs
-Product development, modification or localization for export markets
-Global intellectual property protection costs (e.g., overseas patent, trademark or copyright filings)
-Routine export operational costs (production for overseas orders, shipping, packing, and other export transactional costs)
** Some of these expenses may be used as part of the company’s required export development match.

Pre-Proposal Conference
STEP Grant Application Webinar

This webinar will discuss the parameters of the Massachusetts STEP program and walk participants through the STEP application process. The webinar will provide guidance on program eligibility and completion of the application, and will also discuss specific elements that are critical for successful applicants. The webinar will also provide tips on assessing export readiness and planning international marketing activities in support of the STEP application. Those applicants who have demonstrated a strong commitment to exporting with a well-planned export strategy will have the best likelihood of success! Grants awards are made on a competitive basis. Speakers will be announced shortly.

For more information, visit

Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Online
Cost: No charge
Contact: Massachusetts Export Center at or 617-973-6610

Register Online:

Pre-Application Information
All applications must be received by the deadline of Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. There is no advantage for early applications.

Estimated Size of Grant
Grants ranging from a minimum of $6,000 to a maximum of $15,000 per business.

Term of Contract
The proposed project, service or activity for which funding is requested must occur between October 1, 2023 and March 31, 2025.

Contact Information
Apply online:

For questions on the STEP application process, please contact the Massachusetts Export Center at 617-973-6610

Massachusetts Export Center
2 Center Plaza, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02108

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