The Illinois State Trade and Export Promotion Program (ISTEP) started as a 3-year pilot trade and export initiative authorized by the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Under the Act the SBA provided competitive grant funding to states to support export promotion for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
DCEO’s Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) has won ISTEP grants in each of the first three years of the pilot program. Illinois' STEP funding provides assistance to Illinois SMEs in order to raise the dollar value of export sales from the state. The Illinois' STEP program continues to focus on providing SMEs with financial and technical assistance, including the opportunity to participate in group Trade Missions or Individual Foreign Market Sales Missions. In addition, assistance is also available for Illinois’ SMEs to achieve product compliance certifications.
ISTEP assistance will be provided on a first come, first served basis for all qualifying companies.
4-STEP Options to Help Your Business Grow
Group Trade Missions
Group Trade Missions are available to a limited number of companies. Qualified businesses will receive:
Individual Foreign Market Sales Missions
Businesses outside of the sectors represented in the scheduled ISTEP Group Trade Missions are encouraged to undertake an Individual Foreign Market Sales Mission. Qualified businesses will receive:
Product Compliance Certification
ISTEP financial assistance is available to help Illinois’ small and medium-sized businesses obtain compliance certification services for their products. Financial assistance is available for measures taken to comply with foreign regulations including those for agricultural products, ISO registration, and packing and recycling laws. Qualified businesses will receive:
International Marketing Support
Financial assistance is available for website translation services, brand development and overall foreign (country specific) website development to companies to increase opportunities for export success.
Is your business eligible?
Illinois businesses must meet the following criteria:
Click Here for an application (requires most recent version of Adobe Reader) . If you receive a warning from your Internet browser asking you to keep or discard the download file, please select "Keep" to proceed with the application download.
If you have an electronic signature on file, please fill in all necessary fields and click "Submit" to send via Outlook or similar email application to International-Trade-Center@siue.edu.
If you do not have an electronic signature, please fill in all necessary fields and print the application. After signing the paper version, please mail or fax to the ITC.