CHICAGO - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the Pritzker administration has been awarded $700,000 in competitive federal funding to promote U.S. export growth through the state’s Illinois State Trade and Export Promotion (ISTEP) program.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) will invest the federal award in the state’s ISTEP program which provides financial assistance to Illinois small businesses entering or expanding to new international markets. Qualified Illinois businesses can use funding from the ISTEP program for state organized group trade missions, individual foreign market sales missions, product compliance, website localization, and export training.

For companies interested in expanding their global footprint, OTI leads group trade missions to international trade shows for a variety of industries such as food processing, environmental technology, life sciences and medicine, and packaging. Applications for the competitive ISTEP program are accepted throughout the year and are considered on a rolling basis.

In Fiscal Year 2020, OTI will lead trade missions to 11 international markets.

• Vietnam Multi-Sector: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | November 2019
• Medica: Dusseldorf, Germany | November 2019
• Arab Health: Dubai, UAE | January 2020
• Mobile World Congress: Barcelona, Spain | February 2020
• SIAL Canada: Montreal, Canada | April 2020
• ExpoMin 2020: Santiago, Chile | April 2020
• Multi-Sector Mission: Kenya & Tanzania | April 2020
• IE Expo 2020: Shanghai, China | April 2020
• Expo Pack 2020: Mexico City, Mexico | June 2020
• Fabtech Canada: Toronto, Canada | June 2020

“Exports play a vital role in the Illinois economy and international sales stimulate job growth at home,” said Margo Markopoulos, Director of the Office of Trade and Investment. “Last year alone, over $65 billion worth of Illinois manufactured goods were sold to countries across the globe. By helping small businesses from across the state take advantage of sales opportunities available to them in foreign markets, OTI is working to further expand Illinois’ global presence.”

For more information about trade missions and other resources available through the State of Illinois’ Office of Trade and Investment, please visit exports.illinois.gov

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