Take a STEP in the exporting direction
Did your business take part in Michigan’s export last year of over $58 billion in goods?
Being a part of the world-wide market makes sense for many businesses, but knowing where to begin can be a challenge. Luckily the State of Michigan offers lots of programs to assist with the details, knowledge, and connections to facilitate successful exporting. One program in particular is the Michigan State Trade Export Program (MI-STEP) provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
The Michigan State Trade Export Program (MI-STEP) works to increase the number of small business exporters and increase the value of exports for those who currently trade overseas. Qualified Michigan companies can use the program to help diversify their customer base, provide long-term stability and create new jobs. Since 2011, MI-STEP has provided support to over 750 Michigan companies for export-related activities, including dozens in the Northern Michigan region.
Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) recently sponsored a regional Exporting Assistance program held in Traverse City, called Global Trade Days. The areas business leaders learned how to increase export sales for their businesses and tap into state grant funding for assistance.
State of Michigan trade representatives from Mexico, China, Canada, Brazil and United Arab Emirates shared resources available to Michigan businesses.
The MI-STEP program provides direct matching grant reimbursements up to $12,000 to qualified small and medium-sized export companies to develop or expand export-related activities.
MI-STEP funds can be used in many ways to increase exports, including;
- Trade shows
- Website & marketing material translation
- Trade missions
- Distributor searches
Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to statewide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.