(Editor’s Note: The following release from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) offers information important to small businesses and entrepreneurs.)

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) today announced that California received a $747,781 grant from the federal government to help small businesses boost trade and export abroad.

“California is already a global economy and today’s announcement bolsters the state’s efforts to help more small businesses become international exporters,” said GO-Biz deputy director Brian Peck. “GO-Biz will use the funds to help small businesses participate in activities like foreign trade missions and access foreign markets through trade promotion initiatives.”

The grant is part of the US Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program which awarded grants to 40 states and territories to support activities to increase exporting by small businesses. California has received STEP funding in previous years but this is the first year that funds were awarded directly to GO-Biz – the state’s lead entity for international affairs and economic development. GO-Biz will work with other partners including the California Community Colleges international trade program – the Centers for International Trade Development (CITD), California Department of Food and Ag (CDFA), the LA Chamber of Commerce and BizFed in providing grants to qualifying small businesses and trade promotion programs. GO-Biz and CITD will partner to administer the STEP Program.

Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and member of President Obama’s Cabinet, announced the grant award at a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday. She was joined by GO-Biz deputy director Brian Peck, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Gary Toebben and other community & business leaders.

“Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18% more. Yet less than one percent of small businesses export; and of those that do, 58 percent of them export to only one country. Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion.  SBA’s STEP program ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding states and their export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses to launch their services and products abroad. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, SBA’s STEP program ensures that America’s small businesses can succeed in the 21st century global economy,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

The STEP program is designed to increase both the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting. The grants help states assist small businesses with export related activities or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program. These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

In addition administering the STEP grant, GO-Biz welcomes hundreds of foreign delegations each year, oversees the California-China Trade Office in Shanghai, administers the state portion of the EB-5 foreign investor visa program and regularly sends state officials abroad to strengthen economic ties with our international partners.

For additional information on the STEP program and the FY 2015 awardees, click here.