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Entrepreneurship and Business Assistance Centers » Export Assistance

Contact Information

Thien Bui
(614) 466-4996
IMAGE@development.ohio.gov

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

Overview

In September 2016, the State of Ohio was awarded $750,000 from the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) from the Small Business Administration (SBA). This is an increase of $50,000 from last year’s award. Ohio has received a STEP award every year for the last five years. Funding from STEP along with a minimum of $250,000 of matching funds from the State of Ohio, is used to fund the Ohio International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE).

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 (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 $10,000 per fiscal year for qualifying activities.

All pre-approved eligible activities must be completed by September 29, 2017.

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.

IMAGE funds will reimburse companies a maximum of $10,000* (50 percent on expenditures up to $20,000) for participation in the following activities:

International Tradeshow Exhibition

  • Booth space rental, design and construction
  • Freight costs to ship booth and materials
  • Trade show registration fees
  • Printing cost of marketing materials for trade show (maximum $2,000 in reimbursement out of the total possible amount of $10,000)
  • Grantee must notify IMAGE Program Administrator of travel details (i.e. name of travelers, dates of travel, countries, cities and purpose of travel) thirty days prior to actual travel
  • Travel expenses for international trade shows are not eligible unless accompanied by an individual market visit supported by the state of Ohio in-country support, U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key Service, or another approved partner

Approved trade missions

  • View Trade Missions, International Events and Trade Fairs
  • Participant fees
  • Market research and appointment setting fees
  • Economy-class airfare in accordance with the Fly America Act
  • Baggage fees
  • Lodging rate as set by the U.S. Department of State
  • Printing cost of marketing materials for trade mission (maximum $2,000 in reimbursement out of the total possible amount of $10,000)
  • Interpreter fees, ground transportation, meals and incidentals are not eligible
  • Travel expenses limited to two people
  • Grantee must notify IMAGE Program Administrator of travel details (i.e. name of travelers, dates of travel, countries, cities and purpose of travel) thirty days prior to actual travel

Individual market visit supported by the state of Ohio in-country support, U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key Service or another approved partner

International Advertising

  • Cost of production and placement of advertisements in magazines, newspapers, posters, billboards, direct mail, on TV, radio and international websites
  • Printing cost (maximum $2,000 in reimbursement out of the total possible amount of $10,000)

Website Development

  • Website translation into foreign language, search engine optimization and localization services ($3,000 reimbursement maximum in this category)

Translation Services

  • Marketing material translations and localizations
  • Label, packaging and technical manual translations
  • Printing cost (maximum $2,000 in reimbursement out of the total possible amount of $10,000)

Training

If you have questions concerning your company’s eligible reimbursements, contact Thien Bui at IMAGE@development.ohio.gov or (614) 466-4996.

The minimum IMAGE reimbursement amount is $1,000 (50 percent on expenditures of $2,000).

After launching the IMAGE application, please create a new login. DO NOT use login information from previous grant years.

Launch IMAGE Application (NOTE: You MUST create a new login)

  • 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 program administrator prior to July 1, 2017 (“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, 2017). If a grantee fails to (i) notify the IMAGE 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 FY 18 IMAGE grant year.

Please click here for reimbursement requirements.

Company should submit for reimbursement within 30 days of completing its list of activities. The final deadline to submit for reimbursement is October 29, 2017. Company can expect to receive their reimbursement within 30 days of submission.

SBA LogoFunded in part through Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.