California STEP Individual Company Export Promotion (ICEP) Program

** Updated, April 18, 2022**

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 status of the company with respect to STEP (new STEP users will be prioritized), the number of applications submitted, and the merits of each application.

ICEP Program Quick Facts:

  • The ICEP program will reimburse eligible California small businesses up to a maximum of $5,000 USD per company, per program funding period.
  • ICEP Application Period will be effective for the following dates:
    • Round 1 (CLOSED): Activities completed between January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021. no longer accepting applications
    • Round 2 (CLOSED): Activities completed between January 1, 2022 – March 14, 2022.
    • Round 3 (CLOSED): Activities completed between March 15, 2022 – May 13, 2022.
  • ICEP applications must be submitted in advance of the planned activity
  • Applications for retroactive activities will NOT be considered or reviewed.
  • If you have received the maximum reimbursement of $5,000 USD for activities falling under Round 1, you are not eligible to apply for funding in Round 2 or Round 3

ICEP Reimbursement Process:

  1. Company submits an online application at californiaexport.org/register. Companies must select “Individual Company Export Promotion” from the list of activities in the application otherwise the application is incomplete.
  2. Applications are reviewed and selected for funding.
  3. GO-Biz notifies awardees and collects documents from awardees to establish a purchase order.
  4. Company executes the activities that have been approved in their application.
  5. Company submits an invoice, receipts, and report for reimbursement to GO-Biz
  6. GO-Biz 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, marketplace fees for cross-border e-commerce, and social media marketing campaigns directed at segments of overseas buyers ($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)
  • Up to one year of premiums on an Export Credit Insurance Policy from the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Other export initiatives determined to be appropriate by STEP Administrators

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

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

ICEP Eligibility:

  • Be operating and organized/incorporated in the United States
  • Be exporting goods or services of U.S. Origin or that have at least 51% or more U.S. content.
  • Meet the SBA small business size standard:
    • The applicable industry-based small business size standard established under section 3 of the Small Business Act; or
    • 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.)
    • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards found at 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Use the following sba.gov link for information on size standards for your business based on your NAICS code: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=a3ce2bc26be66e0577e03416f946e511&mc=true&node=pt13.1.121&rgn=div5
  • Be Registered to do business in the State of California and in good standing:
    • Must be in good standing with the California Secretary of State. Look up status here: https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/; or
    • If a company is registered as a sole proprietorship, the applicant must provide proof they are registered and in good standing with their respective county.
  • Be in business for at least one year at the time of the approved ICEP activity takes place
  • Have NOT received ICEP funding in two of the last three years (including the current year).
  • 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.
  • ADDITIONALLY, eligibility requirements apply to all companies in a group of companies that is related through having the same owners with controlling interest.