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Economy & Business

Grant to Help Pennsylvania Companies Boost Exports

Small business owners looking to increase trade are receiving help from the government.

Pennsylvania will receive $1.7 million to help companies expand and grow by increasing their exports as part of a program by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is committing approximately $30 million nationwide to increase the number of businesses exporting and enhance the value of exports for those already selling overseas.

Steven Kratz, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), said they feel small businesses still drive the economy. "Recent figures show that small businesses are responsible for 70% of job growth in the private sector," said Kratz. "And we feel that the program that we put together, coupled with the funds that came from the Small Business Administration, are going to greatly help small businesses increase exports and therefore increase growth and job creation."

Pennsylvania's Center for Trade Development, housed within the DCED, will provide funds for companies to participate in international trade events and projects with countries such as China, India, Japan, and others.

Kratz said the funds continue until June 30th, 2012. "Really the money's going to be dependent on applications that come in from businesses," said Kratz. "It's not going to be distributed in chunks. It's kind of going to be, 'Come apply for the funds,' and they'll go out once the applications are reviewed."

He said that Pennsylvania is receiving the second largest amount of money from the SBA behind California. Since 2005, the Center for Trade Development helped generate over $2.1 billion in export sales and supported over 14,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.