The New Jersey Department of State’s Business Action Center was awarded $500,000 in federal funds for the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to support new-to-exporting food and beverage manufacturers in underserved business communities.

The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) received funding for the New Jersey STEP (NJSTEP) program to provide financial awards to the companies on a first come, first served competitive basis. The program is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“The goal of this year’s NJSTEP program is to support New Jersey food and beverage manufacturers in underserved business communities that seek to start selling internationally. The program will provide export resources to Minority, LGBTQ, Women, and Veteran-owned businesses to develop better access to global markets,” says New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “NJSTEP will help these companies realize foreign sales opportunities and we look forward to seeing how this will impact the state’s economy.”

The state’s successful NJSTEP program has been awarded funding for nine consecutive years. This year’s funding is focused on expanding the number of new-to-exporting food and beverage manufacturers in underserved business communities. The program has previously assisted hundreds of businesses, leading to millions of dollars in export sales around the world.

“Selling into global markets is not only for large or established firms. We are encouraging food and beverage manufacturers from underserved business communities to begin exporting by applying for a NJSTEP grant,” said New Jersey Business Action Center Executive Director Melanie Willoughby.

The NJSTEP is administered by the NJBAC’s Office of Export Promotion, both housed within the New Jersey Department of State. The application portal for the NJSTEP program opens October 1. To learn more, visit the organization’s website at nj.gov/state/bac or call 1‑800‑JERSEY‑7.