Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Get answers to common questions and more specific situations about all kinds of businesses.

How do I participate in NJ STEP (New Jersey State Trade Expansion Program)?

Welcome to the 2018-2020 New Jersey State Trade Expansion Program (NJ STEP). The Program is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Program Details

Through the SBA, the New Jersey Business Action Center received funding for the NJ STEP to provide financial awards on a first come, first served competitive basis, to New Jersey eligible small business concerns that are new to export, as well as those businesses who currently sell their goods and services to other countries.

Eligible businesses will be considered to receive financial awards to partially offset export promotion costs such as the following:

  • Participation in International and U.S. Trade Events
  • Participation in Department of Commerce Organized Trade Missions
  • Fees for services provided by the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS)
  • Translations of websites and marketing literature
  • Application Requirements: New for 2018-2020

To apply for a NJ STEP Grant, the following forms must be completed and included in your application packet. In addition, you must also furnish proof of your business' Vendor Number provided through NJSTART, the State of New Jersey’s new eProcurement system. If you have not yet registered your New Jersey business please do so at NJSTART.

  1. NJ STEP Information Survey
  2. NJ STEP Projected Return on Investment
  3. U.S. SBA - Eligible Small Business Concern Form
  4. U.S. SBA – SF 1624 Form
  5. Copies of invoices and proof of payment for the export activities that will be considered for reimbursement through the NJ STEP grant.
  6. A copy of a Business Assistance or Incentive Clearance Certificate for the New Jersey Secretary of State – Available online for free through the New Jersey Premier Business Services portal.

All grant recipients, when requested, must complete the NJ STEP Cumulative Export Results Form.

For more details download the NJ STEP Information Page in either English or Spanish:

Or call the Business Action Center to speak to a Global Business Advocate at 866 534-7789.

NJ STEP is funded in part through a Grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Additional information and definitions for the New Jersey Business Survey:

For the purposes of the STEP program, Small Business Communities are defined by the U.S. SBA as follows:

  • Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (set forth in 13 C.F.R 124.103 and 104) who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities; whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same or similar line of business who are not socially disadvantaged. The socially and economically disadvantage individual must own not less than 51 percent of the firm. These include:
  • Black Americans;
  • Hispanic Americans;
  • Native Americans (Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, or enrolled members of a Federally or State recognized Indian Tribe);
  • Asian Pacific Americans (The complete list is available at 13 C.F.R 103); and
  • Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal).
  • Small business concerns owned or controlled by women that are:Not less than 51 percent unconditionally and directly owned and controlled by one or more women who are United States citizens; andA small business as defined in 13 C.F.R. part 121.
  • Rural small business concerns - an eligible small business concern located in a rural area, as defined at 26 USC 1393(2), Rural area. This includes any area that is outside of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA). MSAs have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration as measured by commuting ties. See OMB Bulletin No. 15-01 for a complete list of MSAs.
  • Veterans and/or service-connected disabled veterans – as defined at 38 CFR 3.1(d) and 13 CFR 125.8(g), SBC owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans, is a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable, which is demonstrated on the DD Form 214 and who is:
  • Not less than 51 percent unconditionally and directly owned and controlled by one or more veterans who are United States citizens; and
  • A small business as defined in 13 C.F.R. part 121.

Additional links related to Small Business Communities:

Buy American and Hire American

All STEP grant recipients and clients are subject to Executive Order 13788 of April 18, 2017 the Buy American Laws, to the extent they apply to ensure the maximum utilization of goods, products, materials produced in the United States in order to promote economic growth, create good jobs at decent wages, strengthen our middle class, and support the American manufacturing and defense industrial bases; and Hire American requirements in order to create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the United States, and to protect their economic interests.

For more information, read the full details in the Federal Register, Vol. 82, No. 76, dated April 21, 2017.

Additional links related to Buy American and Hire American:

For more information call our Business Helpline 1-800-Jersey-7

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