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State Trade Expansion Program

What is STEP?

The State of Wyoming has State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant funds for international marketing events occurring through September 29, 2024. STEP is funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is administered by the Wyoming Business Council (WBC).

The goals of STEP are to increase the number of small businesses that export, increase the value of exports, and increase the number of small businesses exploring significant new trade opportunities. Participants must meet SBA eligibility requirements and be based in Wyoming to participate in STEP-funded programs.

Reimbursable awards are for 75% of eligible expenses, not to exceed $5,000. The maximum number of awards per grant period for any Eligible Small Business Concern (ESBC) is two awards.

The grant period is September 30, 2023, through September 29, 2024. The trade event must be completed by September 29, 2024. During the trade event, grant recipients are required to hold business-to-business meetings with potential clients.

If you are unable to access the Google Form application, please contact Kaley Holyfield for a PDF application. Below that are frequently asked questions, if you have any additional questions you are welcome to reach out to Kaley Holyfield. 

Kaley HOlyfield

Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Manager

[email protected]

Find a Regional Director to Grow Your Wyoming Adventure

Frequently Asked Questions - STEP

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: As one example, sheet metal 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 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 invites you to review other examples from the US International Trade Administration.

Q: Who can apply for Wyoming STEP?

A: An eligible small business, 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 within the size standards established by the SBA.  In addition, an eligible business, for the purposes of the Wyoming STEP program, must be physically located in and operated from Wyoming.  Companies operating from a different State, with only a Wyoming Corporation and Registered Agent, are NOT qualified to apply.

For current size standards, visit the SBA website: Make Sure Your Company Meets SBA Size Standards

Q: The eligibility criteria indicate applicants must have one or more full-time employees, in addition to the owner. What defines a full-time employee?

A: For purposes of the Wyoming STEP grant, the applicant needs to employ at least one full-time employee. 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 Business Council works as quickly as possible to approve applications within 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 Business Council reserves the right to accept or reject any application, amend the applicant’s requested funding, or limit application to any applicant. After approval, the Business Council will prepare a contract to be approved by the Attorney General. This process may take up to 30 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 the application. Applicants will be notified of the approval and any conditions required as part of the contract.

Q: When should a company submit its request for reimbursement?

A: Upon approval, each applicant will receive the required documents and 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 use 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 use 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 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 Business Council team member to ensure 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 $5,000.00.

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 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 their small business is operating profitably. What defines operating profitably?

A: In the past, the SBA required that recipients of STEP matching grants were operating profitably. This has recently been clarified, to simply require that recipients of STEP matching grants are operating as “for-profit” businesses, not “nonprofit” organizations.

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 neither the company nor its principals is 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.” 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 working 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 Janean Forsyth Lefevre, [email protected] (307.343.0765) 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 you contact Janean Forsyth Lefevre, [email protected] (307.343.0765) 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.

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