Hannover Fairs USA Supports Small Businesses to Exhibit Overseas Through STEP Program

January 11, 2012

In order to support small businesses looking to exhibit overseas, Hannover Fairs USA, a subsidiary of Germany-based Deutsche Messe, has partnered with the State of California to offera series of financial State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grants.

These grants are geared toward product export and international marketing services to all small businesses in the state’s information technology and manufacturing sectors in hopes to increase exports or export initiatives, according to HFUSA officials.

The STEP program is rolling out through other states as well, and HFUSA will be working with individual states to aid their export-ready small businesses to exhibit at shows, including CeBIT, Deutsche Messe’s massive IT and telecommunications event in Germany.

John Moriarty, vice president of sales and marketing for CeBIT/HFUSA, said the United States Department of Commerce’s National Exports Initiatives program was the conduit through which HFUSA became involved in the STEP program.

“The goal of the (National Exports Initiatives’ Program) is to double exports in a four-year period,” Moriarty said.

As part of that initiative, the U.S. Small Business Administration was given funds to provide grants at a state level that could be used to help companies that qualified bring their products overseas to international events.

HFUSA mainly has worked with technology companies so far to bring them to CeBIT, Moriarty said.

California was awarded $2.5 million for the STEP program, and small businesses that were given funds had a $1,500 credit to exhibit at international shows.

“It’s a really welcome shot in the arm (for small businesses),” Moriarty said. “You can imagine the response from these companies; they are really excited about it.”

Besides California, HFUSA also is working with Florida, which is offering a 50-percent reimbursement on exhibiting costs for small businesses going overseas, as well as North Carolina and Virginia.

“We’re attempting to reach out to all states,” Moriarty said.

He added 50-60 companies that benefited from the STEP program will be on the CeBIT showfloor March 6-10 at Hannover Messe.

According to HFUSA officials, here are some of the benefits the small businesses will receive at the show:

•        reduction in exhibition space costs

•        matchmaking services for valuable, pre-qualified new business leads

•        co-branding with the State of California and other U.S. trade fair partners

•        ability to leverage print advertising with California guide to drive traffic to booth

•        press matchmaking for optimum media exposure

In 2010 alone, more than 110 countries visited CeBIT and more than 6,500 companies from 65 countries exhibited.

Moriarty said the STEP program is valuable because “for us, we want to be able to expose our brand to as many new companies as possible. We have helped many U.S. companies open distribution in Europe.”

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