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Darke County Economic Development...
Ohio Receives Funding to Support Small Business Exports
More than 150 Grant Opportunities to Increase Exports  
January 21, 2012 

Columbus - Today, the Ohio Department of Development announced the International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program, which is part of the National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by 2015. The program is administered through the Department’s Office of Export Assistance and is designed to increase exports and create jobs by helping small businesses promote their products and services in new international markets. 

“Through IMAGE grants, the Ohio Department of Development is providing support to Ohio small businesses as they seek to expand their offerings internationally,” said Christiane Schmenk, Director of the Ohio Department of Development. “By growing markets for Ohio products, we are creating jobs and strengthening our communities.” 

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 authorized the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish a three-year trade and export promotion pilot program, known as the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant. The grants are awarded to states to administer export programs that assist eligible small businesses. 

Ohio received $983,399 for the first year, which will provide IMAGE grants to companies for activities associated with new international marketing initiatives. Eligible expenses include international tradeshows, translation services, exporter education programs, international trade missions, subscription to services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and other export-related initiatives approved by the Ohio Department of Development. 

Ohio’s IMAGE program will award 111 grants at a maximum amount of $6,000 to each grantee, a 50 percent reimbursement on qualified expenditures. An additional 48 grants worth up to $3,000 are available for companies electing to participate in approved trade missions. Companies located in the Ohio Appalachian region may qualify for an additional $2,000 reimbursement as part of a separate grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. 

To learn more about the guidelines and to download an application, please visit For additional questions contact or (614) 466-5017. 

To download a quick preview of the program, click here

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