California STEP Individual Company Export Promotion (ICEP) Program

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 UPDATE. The ICEP program has closed its period for accepting applications, as of 3:00PM (PST) 9/30/2020. We will plan to re-open the application process on or about November 1, 2020.

The Individual Company Export Promotion (ICEP) program is a sub-program of California STEP. The ICEP program is designed to reimburse eligible California small businesses up to $5,000 USD for eligible export promotion related expenses. Please note, this is a competitive application, so not all applications will be funded. Reimbursement awards will be granted on the availability of funds, the number of applications submitted and the merits of the application.

ICEP Program Quick Facts:

  • The ICEP program will reimburse eligible California small businesses up to a maximum per company of $5,000 USD
  • ICEP Application Period: April 1 – September 30, 2020.
  • Approved activities must be completed between April 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020
  • ICEP applications must be submitted in advance of the planned activity.
  • No applications for retroactive activities will be considered for reimbursement.
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

How to apply?

To apply for ICEP funding, applicants must complete and submit a STEP registration online at Companies must select “Individual Company Export Promotion” from the list of activities in the application otherwise the application is incomplete.

Overview of ICEP reimbursement process:

1st step: Company submits application

2nd step: State reviews application and selects awardees

3rd step: STEP fiduciary notifies awardees and sets up a purchase order

4th step: Company completes activity(s)

5th step: Company submits invoice, receipts and report for reimbursement to STEP fiduciary

6th step: STEP fiduciary issues reimbursement


Qualifying export expenses (with $ limits in parenthesis):

  • Participation fees for international trade missions that support U.S./California exports ($5,000)
  • Participation fees for international export trade show exhibitions ($5,000)
  • Export research tool subscriptions used to assist with market research (up to $2,000)
  • Website translations, search engine optimization, localization services ($5,000)
  • Cost of compliance testing of an existing product for entry into a foreign market ($5,000)
  • Fees for shipment of sample products internationally (up to $4,000)
  • Fees associated with intellectual property protections (up to $1,670)
  • Design of marketing media commensurate with STEP’s statutory objectives deemed appropriate ($5,000)
  • Other export initiatives determined to be appropriate by STEP Administrators

The following (but not limited to) are not eligible for reimbursement:

  • Travel
  • Lodging
  • Meals and incidental expenses
  • Additionally, ICEP funds cannot be used in conjunction with any other STEP event

Is your company eligible? Qualifying California companies must:

    • Be organized or incorporated in the U.S.
    • Be operating in the U.S.
    • Is exporting goods or services of U.S. Origin or that have at least 51% or more U.S. content.
    • Meets:
      1. The applicable industry-based small business size standard established under section 3 of the Small Business Act; or
      2. The alternate size standard applicable to the program, under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. 695 et seq.)
      3. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards found at 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Use the following link for information on size standards for your business based on your NAICS code:
    • Registered to do business in the State of California and in good standing with
      1. Must be in good standing with the California Secretary of State. Look up status here:; or
      2. If a company is registered as a sole proprietorship, the applicant must be registered and in good standing with the county in which the business is located in
    • Must be in business for at least one year at the time of the approved ICEP activity takes place
    • Have sufficient resources to bear the costs associate with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.
    • Agree to provide information on export sales data resulting from the ICEP reimbursement funding, and respond to all subsequent STEP surveys on a timely basis. STEP may send surveys every six months, for up to 3 years. By applying for a reimbursement, you are agreeing to respond to these surveys with information on export sales data.