The California State Trade Expansion Program (commonly referred to as California STEP) is designed to drive exports for California small businesses. California STEP leverages a statewide network of state, federal, private and non-profit trade promotion organizations to facilitate export promotion, activities.

For more information and to register, visit California STEP.

California STEP goals are simple:

  • If you are exporting, we’d like to help your business export more.
  • If you are not exporting, we’d like to help you get started. 
California STEP can help you answer:

  • What opportunities are there for my firm to connect with overseas buyers in California?
  • How can my firm maximize our marketing efforts through trade shows abroad?
How Will STEP Help Small Businesses?

  • Support for small business participation in foreign trade missions and foreign market sales trips
  • Foreign trade show exhibitions
  • Other export promotion activities

Industries We Serve

  • Information and communications technology
  • Green technologies
  • Food and agricultural products
  • California Lifestyle products
  • Medical equipment
  • Scientific instrumentation
  • Transportation equipment
  • Industrial machinery
  • Other (inquire about ICEP program) 

California STEP Activities 2018/2019 (to be announced soon):

The project will conduct ten (10) unique export promotion activities including domestic and market-focused marketing campaigns, customized product/promotion localization assistance, and matchmaking services connecting small businesses to potential international customers.

Basic Qualifications to Participate in California STEP:

  • Comply with SBA size standards found at 13 C.F.R. Part 121
  • Been in business for not less than the 1-year period ending on the date on which assistance is provided under a STEP grant
  • Operating and incorporated in the United States
  • Demonstrated understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers, including the costs of freight forwarding, customs brokers, packing, and shipping
  • Small business exporting goods or services of U.S. origin or that have at least 51% or more U.S. content. 

California STEP Partners

The California STEP network consists of STEP Partners across the state that have extensive experience in helping small businesses export, which has been recognized by four (4) Presidential “E-awards” for exporting, six (6) successful U.S. Department of Commerce, Market Development Cooperator Awards over the past decade carrying out small business export promotion programs.

  • California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development  (GO-BIZ)
  • California Department of Food & Agriculture
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Riverside Community College Center for International Trade Development (CITD)
  • Los Rios Community College Center for International Trade Development (CITD)
  • Southwestern Community College Center for International Trade Development (CITD)

With additional support from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, the US Small Business Administration Office of International Trade, Export Import Bank of the United States, the Los Angeles Regional Export Council, California Chamber of Commerce, and others


For more information and to register, please visit California STEP.


Jeffrey Williamson
California STEP Director
Riverside Community College District Center for International Trade Development
Phone: 1-951-571-6458

Diana Dominguez
Special Advisor for International Trade & GO-Biz STEP Manager
California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
Phone: 1-916-322-0645

The STEP program is funded in part through a competitive grant award by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Funding is not an endorsement of any product, opinion, or service. No federal grant funds are being used for any entertainment costs associated with trade promotion or export marketing activities. All Federal and State funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Special arrangements for individuals with disability will be made if requested in advance.

The State Trade Expansion Program (commonly referred to as STEP) is an export development program authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. The STEP program is funded by federal cooperative agreement awards and matching funds from the U.S. states. At the national level, the STEP Program is executed by the Office of International Trade (OIT), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).