U.S. Small Business Administration increases New Jersey’s grant by 51% based on the state’s successful track record
Guest Op-Ed By Lauren Moore
New Jersey Business Action Center (NJ BAC)
The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJ BAC) has been awarded a $750,000 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help NJ businesses gain access to foreign markets. This award is a 51 percent increase from last year, meaning more funds are available for qualifying businesses.
Now in its fourth year, the NJ STEP program has helped businesses like Fornazor International. The Hillside-based specialty animal feed blender supplies a wide range of ingredients to the export market. Through a NJ STEP grant, the company was able to attend two trade shows in Dubai and successfully grow its business.
“The trade shows have had a tremendous impact on our business. Thanks to funds from the NJ STEP grant, we project a million-dollar revenue increase over 18 months,” says Fornazor’s business development manager, Susan R. Jay. “All businesses should be aware of the financial support the government offers. There is nothing difficult about the record keeping involved.”
Another example is International American Supermarkets (IAS), based in Piscataway. The company is a dynamic food and beverage export management organization representing a diverse portfolio of recognized U.S. brands in overseas markets. Through funds awarded by the 2015 NJ STEP grant program, the company was able to attend trade shows in Shanghai, China, and Bogota, Colombia.
“Our business is 100% exports, so for us, growth comes from entering markets we are not currently in, like China and Latin America,” says Suhayl Sauma, CEO of IAS. “There is a real market looking for our products overseas and the NJ STEP grant can give local businesses the opportunity to explore that.”
In addition to trade show expenses, an NJ STEP grant can also cover costs to translate websites and participate in trade missions, as well as fees for U.S. Department of Commerce resources.
Since 2013, the New Jersey Business Action Center has helped 138 New Jersey companies qualify for NJ STEP grants in the amount of $976,473. As a result of this assistance, these firms have export sales projections of over $310 million in goods and services to over 45 countries.
The goal is to provide NJ companies with the resources and the knowledge needed to succeed when entering the global marketplace. This year’s increase in funding will allow the BAC to help additional companies realize export opportunities.
About NJ STEP Grants
The NJ STEP Program is available to eligible small and medium sized businesses on a first-come, first-serve competitive basis. If you are interested in finding out if your business qualifies for an award, visit NJSTEP.NJ.GOV or email the NJ STEP Program Administrator at email@example.com.
NJ STEP is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Businesses interested in applying for a STEP grant or in need of export assistance are encouraged to call the BAC at (866) 534-7789 or visit the State’s Business Portal at www.newjerseybusiness.gov.
About the NJ Business Action Center
Operating under the leadership of Lt. Governor Guadagno, the NJ Business Action Center encourages the optimum conditions for business growth and job creation in the state. The BAC’s experienced business advocates work to retain and attract businesses to New Jersey – providing a customer-oriented approach to assist business of all sizes.
Lauren H. Moore is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC). Housed within the New Jersey Department of State and reporting to the Lieutenant Governor, the BAC’s core mission is to help create and retain jobs while encouraging private capital investment in the Garden State. In his role at the BAC, Lauren oversees the Office of Business Advocacy, the Office of Planning Advocacy, and the Office of International Business Development and Protocol. These units have a wide range of responsibilities which include: coordinating state, local, and federal business assistance and incentive programs; providing commercial real estate site selection services; guiding companies on regulatory and permitting matters; developing land use strategies to promote sustainability and economic growth; and encouraging foreign-based firms to invest in New Jersey. Mr. Moore has more than 25 years of professional experience, holding numerous management positions in government. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Richard Stockton Collage and is a licensed New Jersey professional planner and member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Lauren can be reached at (609) 292-3863 or at firstname.lastname@example.org