Alabama Development Office Director Greg Canfield and Governor Robert Bentley had announced yesterday in a press conference in Montgomery, that Alabama has won two separate grants totaling $240,600 to increase exporting activities in the state and thereby creating more jobs. These two government grants will allow Alabama to provide funding for the companies in the state to sell more local products and services overseas and create jobs through the increased export revenues.
In the year 2010, international trade in Alabama was a $15.5 billion industry with manufactured goods from the region being shipped to 198 foreign destinations—a strong increase of 25.5% from 2009. Over 300,000 jobs for Alabama citizens were supported by the $15.5 billion in manufactured exports from the state to the rest of the world.
The two government grants are $100,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC), and $140,600 from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion Grants Program (STEP) and it will focus on the small and medium-sized companies in Alabama. The ARC Global Appalachia initiative is designed for a 37-county region of Alabama Appalachia and will encourage a stronger partnership between ARC-member states, the federal government, and Appalachian businesses to increase the number of small businesses that want to export and increase the value of exports for Appalachian businesses currently exporting.
The STEP Grant Program is a three-year pilot program that aims to increase the number of small businesses across America that are exporting goods or providing services. Programs will provide funding for small companies to gain a foothold in overseas markets through participating in trade missions and trade shows in emerging markets such as China, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The small business grants will work to increase the number of companies exporting by providing hands-on assistance through market research, trade leads and identifying qualified international buyers. A portion of these small business grants will focus on increasing higher-education exports, an industry sector which ranks among the country’s top 10 service exports.
The two government grants awarded to Alabama will help fuel the organic process for job creation in the state through the growth of export opportunities and increased sales for small businesses and their products. About 70% of Alabama companies exporting are small to medium sized businesses and these companies which export add jobs 18% faster than companies that choose not to export. The small business grants will be coordinated through the Alabama Development Office’s International Trade Division.
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