LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced today that it is the recipient of a $320,000 California State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant from the Small Business Administration.
A three-year pilot trade and export initiative, the STEP Program is authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and is designed to help increase the number of small business that are exporting, as well as raise the value of exports for those small business so they can grow and create jobs.
“The Chamber has been working with area small businesses to increase international trade for many years,” said L.A. Area Chamber Senior Vice President Carlos Valderrama. “This grant will allow us to bolster those activities and will ultimately result in more jobs for the Los Angeles area.”
With a total of $2.5 million, the California STEP Program will fund about 20 unique export promotions activities, including domestic and market-focused campaigns, customized product/promotion localization assistance, matchmaking services connecting small businesses to potential customers and follow-up support to assist firms in closing deals.
As one of many funded partners in the California STEP Program, the L.A. Area Chamber will use its $320,000 grant to enhance The Americas Business Forum, which aims to help California-based business increase trade opportunities with Canada, Mexico and other growing Latin American countries.
The grant will also allow the Chamber to establish a new program called MBA Export Champions. Led by USC Marshall School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Management and the L.A. Area Chamber, Export Champions will connect partnering companies within regional target industries to tailored export services and training using a case management approach.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity to partner with USC and UCLA on the Export Champions program,” Valderrama said. “This unique program will match companies with MBA research teams, which will then act as resident ‘export champions’ with the aim of opening up new country markets for existing exporters and institutionalizing export strategies in the participating companies.”
The objective of the California STEP project is to deliver focused export promotion activities targeting 700 California small and medium size companies with a projected outcome of $25 million in new exports. Nationally the program aims to build on the President’s National Export Initiative, which is working to double U.S. exports and give America a stronger competitive edge in the global market.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.