Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

New grants to help small businesses export

Posted by: Dee DePass under Trade, Training Updated: December 7, 2011 - 1:59 PM

If you are a tiny business looking to export your goods, listen up. The state has training money for you.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) just received more than $450,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration for its State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP).

Exporting is seen as such an economic boom and job creator that the state and feds want more small businesses in the game. The $450,000 pool of training dollars is meant to provide technical assistance to companies who want to sell to foreign markets for the first time or expand into new markets. The ultimate goal, however, is to spur job growth here at home. 

"The revenue and jobs that exports create here at home are extremely important to Minnesota's economic health and well-being," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "Last year, state exports of manufactured goods, agricultural commodities and services totaled $31 billion and were responsible for an estimated 115,000 jobs."

Still, only about 8,100 Minnesota companies do business outside the United States, said Minnesota Trade Office Executive Director Katie Clark. "There is tremendous untapped export potential for small businesses statewide, especially those engaged in manufacturing, wholesaling, and professional and technical services," she said. 

For more information or to apply to STEP, go to


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