Business  |  Export Assistance

Entrepreneurship and Business Assistance Centers » Export Assistance

Ohio International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) supported by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)


Contact Information

Thien Bui



The IMAGE program funded through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is designed to increase exports and create jobs. STEP is funded through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of International Trade, which provides guidance on the IMAGE grant that offers financial assistance for small businesses to promote their products and services in international markets. The grant will provide a 50 percent reimbursement up to $12,500 per fiscal year for qualifying activities.

Application must be pre-approved prior to commencement of activities. All pre-approved eligible activities must be completed by September 29, 2019.

The FY19 IMAGE program is no longer accepting applications.

Click the drop-down arrows below for more information in each category.

The IMAGE program requires the application to be signed by a corporate officer, certifying that the following eligibility criteria will be met:

  • Company operates a licensed business in Ohio to manufacture, assemble and/or distribute a product or provide an exportable service.
  • Company certifies that the products to be promoted contain a majority of U.S. content. U.S. content is valued at export-works price minus the aggregate value contributed by foreign suppliers, including labor and material.
  • Company has identified qualifying and achievable export activities or initiatives requiring financial support.
  • Company asserts that it meets the requirements of the Table of Small Business Size Standards set forth by the SBA.
  • Company has been in business for no less than the one-year period ending on the date on which assistance is provided under an IMAGE grant.
  • Company has in effect a strategic plan for exporting, as outlined under "Client Commitments" on the IMAGE application.
  • Company attests that it shall not knowingly enter into any transactions with a person in the Excluded Parties List System.
  • Eligible activities must be executed by direct employees of the company.
  • Nonprofits are not eligible.

Eligible domestic trade show exhibition (not to exceed $5,000 in reimbursement)

  • Must be participating in the International Buyer Program or in addition to trade show general information, Grantee must provide written justification satisfactory to the IMAGE Program Administrator demonstrating how the domestic trade show will increase its exports
  • Booth space rental, design and construction
  • Registration fees
  • Travel expenses for domestic trade shows are not eligible

Foreign trade show exhibition (not to exceed $10,000 in reimbursement)

  • Booth space rental, design and construction
  • Registration fees

Trade missions

Individual market visits supported by the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA), U.S. Department of Commerce, or another ODSA approved partner

  • Economy-class airfare in accordance with the Fly America Act and baggage fees
  • Lodging rate as set by the U.S. Department of State
  • Interpreter fees, ground transportation, meals and incidentals are not eligible
  • Travel expenses are limited to two people

Website development and/or design of international marketing media (not to exceed $3,000 in reimbursement)

  • Website translation into foreign language, search engine optimization and localization services
  • Design, translation, production and placement of marketing media.
  • Eligible marketing media methods are brochures, social media platforms, websites, billboards, newspapers, branding and advertising, posters, and advertisements in international magazines

Export Training Programs (not to exceed $1,500 in reimbursement)

  • Export certification or training workshops offered by SBA Resource Programs, such as, SBDCs, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE, and ExportTech.
  • If an export training program you wish to attend is not supported by one of the above organizations, please submit the training to for review

Compliance Testing (not to exceed $3,000 in reimbursement)

  • Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market


  •  Shipping of trade show booth materials and sample products (not to exceed $2,000 in reimbursement)

For a list of ineligible expenses, click here.

  • Grant applications must be pre-approved prior to commencement of activities.
  • Grant awards are administered on a first come, first served basis and are contingent upon availability of funds.
  • Grant awards will be based on the overall quality of the export-related activity, as determined by the Ohio Development Services Agency.
  • Grantees will not be compensated for activities also receiving funding through other sources (i.e., Food Export Association).
  • Grantees must be in good standing with all state of Ohio agencies, including the Department of Taxation.
  • Upon completion of the activities, grantees will be reimbursed upon submission of the materials noted in this document.
  • A grantee must notify the IMAGE program administrator prior to May 1, 2019 (“Deadline Date”) if the grantee does not anticipate completing the proposed export-related activity or using the allocated grant funds by the Project Completion Date (September 29, 2019). If a grantee fails to (i) notify the program administrator prior to the Deadline Date that it is not moving forward with the project, or (ii) complete the project by the Project Completion Date, Grantee may be deemed ineligible for the IMAGE Program in the FY20 IMAGE grant year.

Please click here for reimbursement requirements.

i. Company should submit for reimbursement within 30 days of completing its list of activities. The final deadline to submit for reimbursement is October 29, 2019. Company can expect to receive their reimbursement within 45 days of submission.

SBA Logo

Funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.