Q: The application asks the applicant to affirm that they have a product or qualifying service that has at least 51% U.S. content. What defines 51% U.S. content?
A: State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) matching grant awards are made to organizations that have a product or qualifying service that has at least 51% U.S. content. This criterion typically applies only to companies that manufacture a product. For example, if all the components of a company’s manufactured good are manufactured in the United States and all the components are assembled into the final good in the United States, then the product is clearly manufactured in the United States and meets the criterion. However, if components or materials used to make the final product are sourced from foreign markets, then it becomes necessary to demonstrate that a substantial transformation of those materials has occurred in the United States thus qualifying the product as having at least 51% U.S. content.
For example, sheet metal that is sourced from China and machined into a new toolbox in the United States has undergone a substantial transformation and meets the requirement. On the other hand, toolboxes sourced from China that have handles attached, labeling affixed, and are packaged in the United States have not undergone a substantial transformation. They were toolboxes when they left China and they are still toolboxes in the United States.
The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) invites you to review our Substantial Transformation Questionnaire for additional guidance to help you determine whether your product meets this requirement.
Q: Who can apply for Wyoming STEP?
A: Wyoming STEP is open to eligible small business concerns (SBC) with a significant presence in Wyoming that export products or services, or wish to become ready to export.
Eligible SBCs must meet the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) definition of “eligible small business concerns.” Wyoming businesses are encouraged to apply. Additional eligibility requirements are available in the Wyoming STEP activity information document. An eligible SBC, as defined by the Small Business Act, is a business that is independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field, and whose size falls with the size standards established by the SBA.
For current size standards, visit the SBA website: Make Sure Your Company Meets SBA Size Standards
Q: The eligibility criteria indicates that applicants must have one or more full-time employees, in addition to the owner. What defines a full-time employee?
A: Applicants are required to employ at least one full-time employee, in addition to the owner, to qualify to receive a STEP matching grant. The only exception is for applicants applying to receive the Certificate of Global Business Management Matching Grant. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. This is a matter generally to be determined by the employer.
The standard for full-time was typically 40 hours a week in the past; however, many employers consider employees as full-time working different schedules, i.e., over 30 hours, 35 hours, 37.5 hours, etc. Full-time employees may be provided with benefits, including a pension, health insurance, paid vacation, and sick time, that are not offered to part-time employees. However, there are no requirements for employers to provide benefits to employees other than those mandated by law.
For purposes of the Wyoming STEP grant, the applicant needs to employ at least one full-time employee not considered part-time. They must be employed by the applicant company and cannot be leveraged through contracts or agreements with other companies, suppliers, etc.
Q: How long does it take for application approval and how will I be notified?
A: The WBC will work as quickly as possible to approve applications; however, it could take five to 10 business days. Approvals are based on the quality of the application, receipt of all required documents and the funding dollars available. The WBC reserves the right to accept or reject any application, amend the applicant’s requested funding or limit application to any applicant. After approval the WBC will prepare a contract to be approved by the Attorney General. This process may take 10-20 working days. Spending and activities that occur before the contract is signed will not be eligible for reimbursement.
Every applicant will be notified of receipt of application. Applicants will be notified of approval and any conditions that may be required as part of the contract.
Q: What are the reporting requirements for applicants?
A: Applicants are required to complete a final report that includes expenses, sales, if goals were met, etc.
Q: When should a company submit their request for reimbursement?
A: Upon approval, each applicant will receive the required documents and what the required backup documentation is to be submitted with reimbursement, along with the due date.
Q: What is Gold Key?
A: Gold Key Matching Service offers the following:
- Customized market and industry briefings with our trade specialists.
- Timely and relevant market research.
- Appointments with prospective trade partners in key industry sectors.
- Post-meeting debriefing with our trade specialists and assistance in developing appropriate follow up strategies.
- Help with travel, accommodations, interpreter service and clerical support.
For more information, visit Gold Key Service
Q: Are companies required to utilize foreign U.S. Commercial Services (e.g., Gold Key, etc.) to qualify for funding?
A: U.S. Commercial Services (USCS) is a valued partner in the Wyoming STEP program and we encourage applicants to utilize their services when appropriate. However, purchasing similar services in a foreign country/market other than USCS does qualify as an eligible activity.
Q: Can a food company apply?
A: Yes. Any Wyoming-based company that meets the requirements can apply for the trade shows or trade mission activities. Companies that wish to learn more about becoming export-ready may participate in the training activities.
Q: I have not exported within the past 12 months; can I participate?
A: Companies that have never exported and those that have not exported within the past 12 months will be contacted by a WBC team member to ensure that they have met the SBA guidelines to participate in the program. If the program guidelines are not met, recommendations will be made for the next steps to move that company to export readiness.
Q: Can in-kind contributions be used for the 25% company match requirement?
A: No. Only cash contributions/expenses can be used as a match. Reimbursement will be made based on the approved eligible expenses listed in the application. Reimbursement will be up to 75% of approved eligible expenses up to $3,500.00.
Questions regarding the various codes required on the application:
Q: What is a NAICS code and how do I get one?
A: The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classifies business establishments for collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy. These codes define establishments based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged.
Visit www.census.gov/naics to get your NAICS code. In the "2012 NAICS Search" box in the upper left, enter a keyword that describes your kind of business. A list of primary business activities containing that keyword and the corresponding NAICS codes will appear.
Q. The application is asking for Export Control Classification Code. What is it and how do I get one for my company?
A. The Export Control Classification Code (ECCN) is a five character alpha-numeric designation used on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to identify dual-use items for export control purposes. An ECCN categorizes items based on the nature of the product; i.e., type of commodity, software, or technology and its respective technical parameters. For more information, visit ECCS Website
Q. The application is asking for an HS Code. What is this and where do I get one?
A. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System known as the Harmonized System (HS Code) is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers to classify traded products. Visit HS Code Lookup for more information.
Q: The SBA Self Representation as a Small Business Concern Form asks the applicant to affirm that their small business is operating profitably. What defines operating profitably?
A: The SBA requires that recipients of STEP matching grants are operating profitably. The WBC has chosen to review whether the applicant reported a net income or a net loss on their most recent annual report as the standard for determining operating profitably. If a net income is reported, then the applicant is considered to be operating profitably. Click here to complete the form: Small Business Concern Form
Q: The Application is asking for a Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters form. Why?
A: This certification is required by Executive Order 12549, Debarment and Suspension, 13 CFR Part 145. By submission of this form, the applicant affirms that neither the company nor its principals is presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in this program by any federal department or agency. If the applicant is unable to certify to any of the statements in this certification, an explanation is to be attached to the application. Visit Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters to complete the form.
Q: What is a DUNs number? Why do I need one?
A: This information is directly from the D&B website:
The D&B (Dun and Bradstreet) D-U-N-S number is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses. It is used to allow a business to be eligible for federal government contracts and grants and, in some cases, establish a business credit file, which is often referenced by lenders and potential business partners to help predict the reliability and/or financial stability of the company in question. A D-U-N-S Number can be obtained free of charge. Other services offered by D&B, such as the business credit file, may have fees associated with them. D-U-N-S, which stands for data universal number system, is used to and maintain accurate and timely information on over 250 million global businesses.
The D-U-N-S Number has been referred to as the “Social Security number for businesses.” In reality, it’s even more pervasive than Social Security. The system is used in dozens of countries around the world, including the U.S., Australia and the European Union, and confers numerous benefits on businesses that participate. The business credit file associated with your business’s D-U-N-S number can help potential partners and lenders learn about your business and make informed decisions about whether or not to work with you as a client, supplier or partner. Even after you’ve signed a contract or accepted a loan, your D-U-N-S number can be used to help get a clear view of your business, which can help you negotiate for improved terms and conditions or a favorable line of credit.
For free, one-on-one, expert D-U-N-S registration assistance contact Andrea Lewis (307.772.7372) or Brett Housholder (307.234.3203) with the Wyoming SBDC Network PTAC or click here: D&B D-U-N-S Registration Page
Q: What is a SAM registration?
A: The System for Award Management (SAM) is an official website for the U.S. government. SAM consolidated the capabilities of CCR/FedReg, ORCA and EPLS and registration is required to do business with the U.S. government. There is NO cost to use or register with SAM. We recommended that you contact Andrea Lewis (307.772.7372) or Brett Housholder (307.234.3203) with the Wyoming SBDC Network PTAC for free, expert registration assistance. Additional assistance is available on the HELP tab of the System for Award Management Website , including user guides, videos and FAQs.