International Stories

Published 10/17/17

Chafee Center Receives Grant to Help Small Businesses Increase Exports

SMITHFIELD, RI. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that the John H. Chafee Center at Bryant University is one of 44 state international trade agencies that have been awarded funding from the SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. The Chafee Center’s award of $434,914 will allow the Center to continue to help Rhode Island small businesses to expand into international markets. This is the sixth straight year that the Chafee Center has received a STEP grant.

“We are excited to receive the STEP grant again this year,” said Ray Fogarty, director of Bryant’s John H. Chafee Center for International Business and recipient of the John Otis Lifetime Achievement Award from NASBITE International, a professional organization for the global business community. “STEP is important to our local businesses and Rhode Island’s economy, as exports are a proven way to add jobs, increase profits and promote continued business growth in Rhode Island.”

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers reside outside of the United States,” notes SBA Regional Administrator Mark S. Hayward. “The Chafee Center, is an incredible resource that our small business community can use to ensure they have every opportunity to tap into those markets.”

The STEP awards allow states to assist small businesses with export related activities or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program. The program is designed to increase the number of small businesses exporting goods and services and also the value of those exports. Initiatives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

“STEP has been a wonderful catalyst in allowing us to attend meetings throughout the world and to showcase Rhode Island talent.” said Nancy McDowell, senior director of marketing and international sales for Alcor Scientific and local STEP beneficiary. “Many of our contacts that have been made at these meetings have turned into revenue streams that employ Rhode Islanders in the manufacturing and distribution of critical medical products that enhance health on a worldwide basis.”

The John H. Chafee Center at Bryant University provides comprehensive international trade services for business to expand into international markets. Through global market research, corporate training, and strategic consulting, the Chafee Center helps local, regional, and national companies get their products and services to customers around the world.


Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. The University's 3,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students study in an innovative and immersive learning environment that fosters success and high achievement. Founded in 1863, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News & World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s. Visit www.bryant.edu.