MAP Assists Companies with Export Expenses, Funds Available First-Come, First-Served
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that the TNTrade Market Access Program (MAP) is now accepting applications from Tennessee businesses. MAP is designed to enhance export readiness, promotion and sales activities in foreign markets for Tennessee’s small- to mid?sized companies. The program provides a 50 percent reimbursement for up to $5,000 per year for qualified and approved export activities.
“Last year Tennessee exported roughly $30 billion in goods; however, fewer than 2 percent of all Tennessee companies are exporters,” ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “The Market Access Program will be instrumental in helping Tennessee companies open up new markets, explore new sources of revenue and find new customers all over the world.”
Tennessee businesses that manufacture, assemble and/or distribute a product, or provide an exportable service may apply. If manufactured or produced outside of Tennessee, the product must be marketed under the name of a Tennessee firm and have Tennessee content representing at least 51 percent of the value of the finished good and/or service.
Activities qualifying for the MAP reimbursement include:
· Overseas trade mission or trade show participation
· Domestic trade show participation that has a significant international focus
· Foreign market sales trip
· Subscription to services through the U.S. Commercial Service
· Independent consultant assistance
· Export training workshops
· Product certification
· International marketing media design
· Website internationalization
· Marketing collateral translation
Applications are available on the TNTrade website at tn.gov/ecd/tntrade/pdf/mapapp.pdf and must be submitted to ECD at least 20 business days prior to the activity. All activities must be approved in advance in order to utilize MAP. Applications will be reviewed by a team consisting of representatives from ECD, the Tennessee Small Business Development Centers and the U.S. Commercial Service. Funding decisions will be rendered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Applications will be scored based on the following criteria: economic impact (50 percent), project description (30 percent), company description (10 percent), and project budget (10 percent). All applications that receive a score of 70 or higher (out of 100 total possible points) will be approved for MAP subject to funding availability and final approval by the ECD Commissioner.
MAP is funded by a State Trade and Export Program (STEP) grant awarded to ECD by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). STEP is a three-year grant program requiring approval by the SBA for each year of its term. ECD has received approval to use STEP funds for the one?year period ending September 30, 2012, and companies seeking MAP reimbursements must incur the approved and qualified expenses on or before this date. ECD intends to apply for funding for the two subsequent twelve?month periods of the STEP grant program when applications are made available by the SBA.
MAP is one of two initiatives included in ECD’s TNTrade program designed to help small- and mid-sized businesses grow their export activities. The other initiative includes an April 2012 trade mission to China and South Korea focusing on medical device manufacturers and other health care companies.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to www.tn.gov/ecd.