Export shipping containers being moved on a dockCompanies have until March 15 to apply for grant funds

 MADISON, WI. FEB. 1, 2024 – Wisconsin businesses aiming to grow or jump-start export success can apply for grants of up to $25,000 through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to help cover expenses in navigating global trade.

Applications for International Market Access Grants are open through March 15. Companies can begin the application process or ask questions by contacting Global Trade and Investment Grant Manager Katie Ujdak at 608.210.6773 or katie.ujdak@wedc.org.

“These grants help businesses bring their export strategies to life and strengthen their footing in the international marketplace,” said WEDC Vice President of Global Trade and Investment Katy Sinnott. “With a proven track record among more than 400 past grant recipients, the grants help broaden their reach and grow sales with lower financial risk to the company.”

To apply, a Wisconsin company must have been in operation for at least a year; must have annual revenues less than $100 million; and must manufacture, process, assemble, or distribute a product or offer services able to be exported. Wisconsin cost inputs must make up at least 35% of the value of an exported product or service, and companies must match 30% of the grant funding received.

The grants, available to companies new to exporting and to those with previous export experience, provide two levels of support.

Graduates of ExporTech™, a WEDC-sponsored program that helps small and midsize Wisconsin manufacturers tap into new markets with a customized export expansion strategy, are eligible to receive up to $25,000. Eligible applicants that have not completed ExporTech™ can receive up to $10,000.

Recipients can be reimbursed for trade show attendance, marketing and promotion, export education, and consulting services. In their proposals, applicants should focus on a single country or small group of nations with a clear reasoning for targeting the area and should strategically identify activities that will advance their export goals.

Past recipients report that the grants provided an important boost for their export efforts.

For example, the West Salem-based MacDonald & Owen Veneer and Lumber Co. used grant funding to gain international exposure.  “We were able to get to more trade shows because of those grants,” Clint West, the firm’s CEO, said in accepting the 2023 Governor’s Export Achievement Award. “We were able to completely catapult the business into a broader market space.”

S3 Aero Defense LLC, a Milwaukee firm that provides spare and repair parts for military operators globally, also used the grants.  Another winner of the Governor’s Export Achievement Award, the company used the grant funds to conduct market assessments, attend a trade mission, and exhibit at the Dubai Air Show, one of the aviation industry’s premier events.