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Cost Reimbursement for Export Related Expenses — Michigan STEP Grant Program

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Jean G. Schtokal
Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report
May 2012

Michigan small businesses with 500 employees or less can apply for reimbursement of up to $25,000 of export costs pursuant to an initiative called the Michigan State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program.  Fifty percent of pre-approved export related costs, including export training costs, translation fees, and costs to attend foreign trade shows, can be directly reimbursed through STEP.

The STEP Grant Program is run by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in coordination with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  The simple application can be found on the MEDC website (http://www.michiganbusiness.org/grow/export-assistance/#step).  Companies that apply must be "export ready," must provide a federal Employer Identification Number linked to a Michigan address, must be in good standing with the Michigan Treasury Department, and must agree to provide the Regional Export Network host with export sales totals and other information, including export activity that results from the STEP Grant Program.  Businesses must apply to the following MEDC - designated Regional Export Network hosts and International Trade Managers by region.

For the East side of the State:

Automation Alley
c/o International Trade Development Coordinator
2675 Bellingham Drive
Troy, MI 48083-2044

For the Central part of the State:

Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
c/o International Trade Development Coordinator
500 East Michigan Avenue, Suite 200
PO Box 14030
Lansing, MI 48901

For the West side of the State:

Van Andel Global Trade Center
c/o International Trade Development Coordinator
401 W. Fulton Street
418C DeVos Center
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

For the Northern Michigan/U.P. area:

Northwest Council of Governments
c/o International Trade Development Coordinator
PO Box 506
Traverse City, MI 49685-0506

The Michigan STEP Grant Program lasts three years and has other valuable components for businesses committed to growing their exports, including no cost or low cost export training and assistance, and access to capital through SBA loans and guarantees.  Qualifying Michigan businesses should strongly consider taking advantage of this opportunity.