Several New Jersey small business food and beverage manufacturers joined New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way on October 19, 2022 as she announced a new $500,000 grant program to boost growth and exports among businesses in underserved communities.
“This new initiative marks the first time the state has focused this grant program on a specific industry segment,” said Secretary Way. “Together, the New Jersey State Trade Expansion Program (NJSTEP) and the Office of Export Promotion are sharing $500,000 in grants for businesses in underserved communities to export food and beverage manufacturing products. It will target businesses owned by minorities, women, people identifying as LGBTQ and veterans and help them enter international markets, grow sales and add jobs.”
“Over the past decade, the Office of Export Promotion within the NJ Business Action Center (NJBAC) has managed the NJSTEP program, which is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Their successful leadership of this program has resulted in consistently increasing funding over the years,” explained Secretary Way.
“NJ STEP companies since 2018 have received $4.5 million of grants and reported $183.3 million of actual sales. During that same period, the grant recipient companies reported more than 300 jobs retained or created. We are excited to provide these funds to underserved communities so they can expand into exporting and participate successfully in international markets,” said Melanie Willoughby, NJBAC executive director.
“We are proud to collaborate with many business associations throughout New Jersey, such as the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Rutgers Food Innovation Institute and the African American Chamber of Commerce, to identify candidate applicants and help them grow,” said NJBAC export promotion manager William Spear.
NJBAC is housed within the New Jersey Secretary of State’s office.
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 opened on October 1.
To learn more, visit the organization’s website at nj.gov/state/bac or call 1‑800‑JERSEY‑7.
About the New Jersey Business Action Center
The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC), housed within the New Jersey Department of State and operating under the leadership of Executive Director Melanie Willoughby, is a business-first resource that offers no-cost, confidential assistance to help businesses grow.
The team helps companies of all sizes save time and money by getting answers from government agencies, directing businesses to appropriate officials and contacts, and facilitating meetings and follow-ups from regulatory agencies.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses.
Created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government, the SBA aids, counsels, assists, and protects the interests of small business concerns, preserves free competitive enterprise, and maintains and strengthens the overall economy of the country.
To learn more visit www.sba.gov.