California STEP Individual Company Export Promotion (ICEP) Program

Receive up to $3,000 in ICEP reimbursements to support your exporting needs:

**UPDATE on DECEMBER 30, 2019. The ICEP APPLICATION WINDOW IS NOW CLOSED. California STEP is NOT accepting applications at this time. The Next round of ICEP applications is anticipated to open on April 1, 2020. Updates will be posted to this page.

The Individual Company Export Promotion (ICEP) program is a sub-program of California STEP. The ICEP program will be used to reimburse eligible California small businesses up to $3,000 USD for specific export promotion related expenses performed on trade promotion related activities not currently being supported by California STEP occurring between October 1, 2019 through September 29, 2020. It 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 – such as the projected sales resulting from the activity. Late, weak, or incomplete applications are ineligible for reimbursement.

ICEP Program Quick Facts:

  • The ICEP program will reimburse eligible California small businesses up to $3,000 USD for eligible export promotion related expenses.
  • ICEP Application Period will open and be effective for the following dates:
    • Round One: November 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019, for activities completed between October 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020.
    • Round Two: April 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020, for activities completed between June 1, 2020 – September 29, 2020.
  • Approved activities must be completed between October 1, 2011 – September 29, 2020
  • ICEP applications must be submitted a minimum of 30 days in advance of the planned activity.*
  • No applications for retroactive activities will be considered for reimbursement.*
  • Application processing period: approximately 3 weeks (average 10 days)


* Except for applications with activities taking place between Oct 1, 2019 and November 15, 2019, in which case applications must be submitted by December 1, 2019.

NOTE: The following (but not limited to) are not eligible for reimbursement: Travel, lodging, and meal 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. The California Secretary of State. To check if your business is in good standing, visit; or
      2. If a company is registered as a sole proprietorship with a fictitious name, the applicant must be registered and in good standing with the county in which the business is located in – if this is the case, a company does not have to file through the Secretary of State.
    • 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.


What are the qualifying export expenses?

The ICEP program provides the opportunity for eligible companies to apply for direct financial assistance to implement an export promotion activity(s). Events/activity(s) eligible for reimbursement may include the following and must take place between October 1, 2019 and September 29, 2020:

  • Participation fees for international trade missions that support U.S./California exports.
  • Participation fees for international export trade show exhibitions
  • Export research tool subscriptions used to assist STEP clients with market research (up to $1,000 maximum)
  • Website translations, search engine optimization, localization services (up to $3,000 maximum)
  • Cost of compliance testing of an existing product for entry into a foreign market (maximum of $2,000)
  • Fees for shipment of sample products internationally (up to $2,000 maximum)
  • Other export initiatives determined to be appropriate by STEP Administrators


NOTE: The following (but not limited to) are not eligible for reimbursement: Travel, lodging, and meal expenses. Additionally, ICEP funds cannot be used in conjunction with any other STEP event.

How to apply?

Please refer to the California STEP ICEP Program Guidelines. To apply for funding, applicants must:

  • Submit STEP registration at indicating interest in the “Individual Company Export Promotion” program at least 30 days in advance of the event for which reimbursement is being sought.