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Bryant’s Chafee Center awarded STEP Grant to help RI companies expand globally
Oct 18, 2019

SMITHFIELD, RI. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University is one of 41 state international trade agencies to be awarded the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant. 

STEP is a national export initiative that makes matching‐fund awards to states to assist small businesses expanding into global markets. Administered by the SBA Office of International Trade, the STEP grant objectives are to increase the number of small businesses that export, help companies expand into new markets and increase the value of U.S. exports. 

“Increasing exports is a proven way to add jobs, increase profits, and promote continued growth for our state.” 

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has designated the Chafee Center, working in partnership with Commerce RI, to lead the state’s trade and export activities. In this role, the Center has applied for and been awarded the STEP grant eight times, and under STEP FY18, assisted 48 RI small businesses.  This year’s $374,002 grant will allow the Center to continue assisting eligible Rhode Island small businesses with STEP funding, while providing strategic guidance to help them achieve their international goals. 

The STEP grant complements the SBA’s Export Loan Programs, which can help finance the working capital needed to complete export orders as well as the expansion of production facilities as export demand increases. Loans up to $5 million are available. 

“We value our partnership with the SBA and Commerce RI, and the opportunity to make a difference for Rhode Island businesses,” says Bryant University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn Sulmasy, J.D., L.L.M. “Increasing exports is a proven way to add jobs, increase profits, and promote continued growth for our state.” 

“SBA is proud to partner with the Rhode Island STEP grant awardee, the John H. Chafee Center for International Business, at Bryant University,” said District Director Mark S. Hayward. “Export-supported jobs are estimated to pay 15-20% more than comparable non-exporting positions, yet less than one percent of small businesses export. The Chafee Center has done an incredible job growing those small businesses that export and this award is a testament to that proven track record,” added Hayward.

About the Chafee Center
The John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University is a resource for students, businesses, organizations, and individuals interested in global trade. Named for the late U.S. senator from Rhode Island—a long-time advocate of international trade and the benefits of introducing new markets to our nation's businesses—the Center’s mission is to foster world trade through collaboration with the University’s academic programs, partnerships with state and federal entities, and outreach to the business community.

To learn more about the STEP program and the Chafee Center for International Business, visit www.Bryant.edu/chafeecenter, or call 401-232-6407

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