Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions here to assist you:

The California “STEP” Program (State Trade Expansion Program), is a export program funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the State of California to help eligible small businesses enter new markets, and expand exporting activity, through participation in overseas trade missions, and trade exhibitions. California STEP specifically helps small businesses participate in these overseas events by creating platforms, such as “California Pavilions” at international trade shows that bundles export promotion activities (display, matchmaking, publicity) to help reduce the costs of participation and increase awareness of small business exporter brands and products, and help generate more interest by international buyers and strategic partners.

Your company is qualified (eligible) to participate based upon meeting all of the following criteria:

  1. Meet the definition of a Small Business, according to the US Small Business Administraiton
  2. Be operating and registered as a business in the United States
  3. Be in business for at least one year when applying for participation and support
  4. Have access to sufficient resources to bear the costs associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers
  5. Must be a small business organized “for profit”

The California STEP program offers 3 primary services: 1) trade missions, 2) trade exhibitions and 3) individual company export promotion (ICEP) support. The ICEP program is one of the services offered, and details about ICEP can be found at www.californiaexport.org/icep

California STEP only provides individual company export promotion support for export promotion activities that take place or are directed outside of the United States.

California STEP welcomes partnerships from all business organizations and groups that are committed to promoting exports for their members and constituents. Non-profit organizations are welcomed to submit export promotion proposals to be included in the California STEP program, during the proposal development stage, which occurs early to mid spring each year. For those organizations that have experience in conducting trade missions and organizing trade exhibitions for small business, and would like to become a STEP “Partner”, please contact Jeff Williamson (jeff.williamson@Rccd.edu) or Steve Tacheira (stephen.tacheira@cdfa.ca.gov) to be put on the notification list.

California STEP welcomes partnerships from all business organizations and groups that are committed to promoting exports for their members and constituents. Non-profit organizations are welcomed to submit export promotion proposals to be included in the California STEP program, during the proposal development stage, which occurs early to mid spring each year. For those organizations that have experience in conducting trade missions and organizing trade exhibitions for small business, and would like to become a STEP “Partner”, please contact Jeff Williamson (jeff.williamson@Rccd.edu) or Steve Tacheira (stephen.tacheira@cdfa.ca.gov) to be put on the notification list.

California STEP solicits input from the international trade community in California when it develops its proposal for STEP funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Non-profit organizations are welcomed to submit export promotion proposals to be included in the California STEP program, during the proposal development stage, which occurs early to mid spring each year. For those organizations that have experience in conducting trade missions and organizing trade exhibitions for small business, and would like to become a STEP “Partner”, please contact Jeff Williamson (jeff.williamson@Rccd.edu) or Steve Tacheira (stephen.tacheira@cdfa.ca.gov) to be put on the notification list. In addition to direct notifications, information on how to submit a proposal will be posted on the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s website www.cdfa.ca.gov and will be supported by a public news release.

You may submit a question to STEP or register for the STEP program. A California STEP staff member will contact you, conduct an assessment and make necessary referrals.