State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

Van Andel Global Trade Center is the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Regional Export Network Host for West Michigan!

STEP works to increase the number of small business exporters and increases the value of exporters for those who currently trade overseas. Qualifying Michigan companies can use the program to help diversify their customer base, provide long-term stability and create new jobs. STEP has provided support to over 980 unique companies growing their export-related activities. For more information on how your company could benefit from this program visit,

CURRENT FUNDING PERIOD: October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019

Note: All activities must take place during this time period.

NEW This Year!

Companies must be an export-ready U.S. company seeking to export goods or services of U.S. origin or have at least 51% U.S. content.

Eligible Export Activities

1. Participation in foreign trade missions

2. U.S. Department of Commerce services

3. Website development or upgrade fees (translation to foreign languages, localization to foreign markets, SEO).

4. Design of marketing media (brochures, branded giveaways, social media, advertising, etc.)

5. International trade show participation

6. Foreign sales trip

7. U.S.-based international trade show participation

8. Participation in export training workshops 

9. Reverse foreign buyer missions (meeting space/audiovisual)

Award Amounts

New-to-Export Companies: Maximum reimbursement $7,000 per year
Market Expansion companies: Maximum reimbursement $15,000 per year 

If you are unsure of your funding level OR are new to the program, please complete the online intake form.

Need portal access? Send full name, title & email address to your Regional International Trade Manager to request a username & password. 

For questions related to the new funding year, please contact your Regional International Trade Manager or the STEP Program Manager, Natalie Sandborn, at

MEDC 2018 - 2019 Trade Events


Programs in both Detroit and Lansing:
Detroit, Madonna University – Oct 19, Nov 16, Dec 14, 2018
Lansing, MSU International Bus Center – Jan 25, Feb 22, Mar 22, 2019

ExporTech, the national export assistance program that helps companies accelerate their growth in global markets, is returning to Michigan. 

ExporTech is a structured export strategy and business development process that assists 4-8 companies over a 10-week period to develop written strategic plans for export growth and connect with a wide range of experts to catalyze export sales.

ExporTech™ Program Highlights:

  • The only national program that results in a customized export growth plan for each company
  • Designed for manufacturing and technology company executives
  • Intensive, structured process with workshops, planning tools, and individual coaching
  • Connect to a wide range of local and national resources
  • Peer group model – drives accountability, action, learning, networking

Eligible Michigan SMEs can receive 50 percent reimbursement travel expenses and participation fee through State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant. For more information, visit

For the Detroit program, please contact David Newhouse, MEDC International Trade Manager, at or 517-331-6715.

For the Lansing program, please contact Jacob Schroeder, MEDC International Trade Manager, at or 517-898-7462.

Israel Defense Sector Trade Mission

December 1-6, 2018
Hosted by the MEDC, SIBAT, Michigan Israel Business Accelerator, Michigan Defense Center, and Butzel Long

Visit Israel in a defense sector trade mission this December. Mission participants will get exposure to Israel’s largest defense companies, tours of command base and testing range, B2B matchmaking opportunities, networking, and in-country briefings. Meet counterparts in the fields of robotics, command & control, cybersecurity, armored vehicles, homeland security, and more.

Click here for details and registration for Israel Defense Sector Trade Mission.

Arab Health Trade Show

January 25-February 2, 2019

Expand into one of the world’s biggest health care markets by attending the largest medical show in the Middle East. Participants benefit from customized appointments with prospective partners, distributors, and buyers, pre-visit market research, consultation to understand the company’s objectives of participation, and vetted individual daily appointments. Participation also includes a company kiosk within the Michigan booth including graphics, customized matchmaking meetings, hotel accommodations, and a welcome reception.

Click here for details and registration for Arab Health Trade Show.

IDEX 2019, United Arab Emirates

February 17-21, 2019
IDEX 2019 - Experience the largest defense exhibition in the Middle East by joining the Michigan Pavilion at the International Defense Exhibition & Conference.

For more information on this event, contact

Queretaro Automotive Meetings, Mexico

February 19-21, 2019

Join the Michigan booth at a structured matchmaking event focused around automotive manufacturing during Queretaro Automotive Meetings.

For more information on this event, contact

Brazil and Colombia Trade Mission

March 24-29, 2019
Hosted by Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers
São Paulo and Bogotá
Registration Deadline: January 22, 2019
Cost –$1,500 | each additional participant: $500
Register here!

Join the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers trade mission to Brazil and Colombia from March 24-29 2019. The mission delegation will make stops in São Paulo and Bogotá. Each mission participant will receive a customized schedule of B2B meetings to meet with prospective customers and business partners. Mission participants will also benefit from networking events and logistical support provided by the GSGP Brazil and Colombia Trade Offices.

For more information, please contact Zoë Munro, Program Director, at or by calling 312-407-0177.

For more information on the upcoming Trade Missions, Trade Shows and Exporting Events & Trainings visit the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's website.