Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Michigan companies travel south of the border; new STEP export funds available for small businesses
Business leaders from 12 Michigan companies are traveling to Mexico to meet with prospective partners, distributors and end customers to increase export opportunities from Michigan to Mexico—with a goal of creating more and better jobs.
The trade mission, taking place Oct. 8-13, is being led by Automation Alley in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade Program.
“As a developing global player and our second-largest trade partner, Mexico is an important and viable market for a wide range of products and services,” said MEDC Chief Executive Officer Jeff Mason. “This trade mission will open doors for these companies by helping them identify and enter into new relationships, ultimately growing their businesses and bringing more and better jobs to Michigan residents.”
Participating trade mission companies will travel with Automation Alley to San Luis Potosi for business meetings with potential customers and buyers and then head to Leon for the Automotive Supply Forum 2017 held by the Automotive Cluster of Guanajuato. The Automotive Supply Forum is a two-day, meet-the-buyer-style trade show and will provide one-on-one business-to-business meeting opportunities for participating Michigan companies with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers from all over the world.
Eligible Michigan companies that participate in an export mission can apply to receive 50 percent reimbursement of their expenses through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) offered by MEDC.
The STEP grant program provides direct reimbursements to support export development activities, such as foreign market research and international trade missions, for qualifying companies that meet the U.S. Small Business Administration size standards.
On Oct. 3, MEDC announced it had received another allocation of STEP funds from the SBA. Michigan received the maximum state award of $900,000 for fiscal year 2018 to provide to Michigan small- and medium business for export-related activities. Combined with additional support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the total funding available for FY 18 is more than $1.6 million. Michigan has participated in the program since 2011. For more information on STEP, visit www.michiganbusiness.org/grow/international-trade-services/#step.
Clients of MEDC’s International Trade Program reported more than $127 million in facilitated export sales to Mexico in FY16. Through the third quarter of FY17, clients have reported $112.7 million in export sales to Mexico, accounting for about 26 percent of total program export sales year-to-date. Last year, the program facilitated $523.9 million in facilitated export sales to 120 countries.
Automation Alley’s award-winning trade mission program introduces small and medium-size Michigan businesses to high-growth markets and opportunities to expand abroad. These missions have generated over $852 million in export sales for local companies.
To contact a business development specialist, click here or call 1.888.522.0103.