Local/State

Grant to help put Carolinians back to work

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue put the spotlight on small businesses Tuesday by discussing how the companies can help put more North Carolinians back to work.

Perdue announced that the N.C. Department of Commerce was the recipient of a $603,442 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration that would help increase exporting by small businesses over the next year.

The grant comes at a time when the state's dealing with big unemployment numbers, so the governor's message is every job helps, especially exports.

The money is supposed to help small businesses like Raleigh Denim on Martin Street expand their potential markets and reach consumers overseas.

"To leverage the dollars the state can put in, because it's a matching program .. to market their product around the world," Perdue said.

The jeans made at the plant are not cheap, they go for nearly $300, because they are handmade and in demand, which means busy days for the workers and potential profits for the couple who own the company.

The governor has been promoting jobs in North Carolina.

"I am focused on growing jobs; one of the ways we can do that is by helping our small and medium sized businesses increase their exports," said Gov. Perdue. "North Carolina's exports are at near peak levels and we must continue to take an aggressive approach to finding new opportunities with our trading partners."

The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, under the State Trade and Export Promotion program (STEP). A total of $30 million is being awarded across the country by the SBA.

In North Carolina, the STEP grant will be used for a new export assistance initiative called NC Passport to Export. The N.C. Department of Commerce will provide a 25 percent match to the federal funds.

Last year, North Carolina businesses exported more than $25 billion worth of products and services all over the world. Exports support about 350,000 jobs in the state.

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