International Trade

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) provides certified export assistance through our team of advisors who help clients develop export and international trade opportunities outside the U.S. International trade opportunities for Connecticut-based companies are expanding, and the CTSBDC network can help prepare your business for globalization.

Expanding your business internationally may allow you to increase sales and achieve long term stability.

CTSBDC's team of experts can help:

  • Understand the basics of International Trade
  • Determine the exportability of your products or services
  • Identify appropriate markets and buyers
  • Develop market entry strategies
  • Establish shipping and distribution networks
  • Determine appropriate payment methods and identify export financing and insurance needs
  • Prepare an Export Marketing Plan

Getting Started

As you prepare to expand your business internationally, there are many logistics to consider. CTSBDC certified trade experts will meet with you to discuss how you can execute your export plan. If you don't have an export plan in place, you can download a sample plan below.

The videos below from the U.S. Department of Commerce may also help small business owners who new to exporting:

Export Financing

CTSBDC's international trade team will work with you to identify the most appropriate financial structure for your company’s exports.  There are many programs and mechanisms available through private capital sources as well as U.S. government trade agencies designed for small business exporters.

  • How to finance international sales.
  • Business risks associated with entering foreign transactions.
  • Protections available to mitigate financial risks in exporting.

State Trade Expansion Program

State Trade Expansion Program

The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is a grant program administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic Development. Small business owners who are looking to start exporting may be eligible to apply to this program to support a number of international efforts including:

  • Translation/Interpreter fees
  • US Department of Commerce commercial services fees
  • International materials/Collateral translation
  • Website translation and optimization
  • Export training registration fees
  • B2B matchmaking registration fees
  • Compliance testing
  • In-person and virtual Trade mission/Trade show cost (including registration/booth fee, furniture, graphics, signage, shipping)

CTSBDC Business Advisors are here to help. If you are looking to apply for this program, contact an advisor to make sure you have the proper documentation in place and are ready to take your business international.

SBA Loans

SBA Export Express Loan

The Export Express Loan Program offers eligible small businesses up to $500,000 in financing to use towards any export development activity and is also the only government loan that funds participation in trade shows or trade missions.

CTSBDC Business Advisors are here to help prepare your loan application. Contact us today.

SBA Working Capital Loan

An SBA Working Capital Loan allows small business owners to apply for loans in advance of finalizing an export sale or contract, giving exporters greater flexibility in negotiating export payment terms. These loans can be up to $5 million, and the turnaround time is usually five to 10 business days.

CTSBDC international trade advisors can work with to identify a lender offering this loan and help you prepare to apply. Contact us today.

Export-Import Bank of the United States

About EXIM Loans

EXIM's direct loans help U.S. companies secure competitive financing for their international buyers. EXIM offers: 

  • Financing for international buyers of U.S. goods and services.
  • No limits on transaction size.
  • Fixed-rate financing with interest rate set at the Commercial Interest Reference Rate (CIRR)
  • Coverage for 100 percent of commercial and political risks.
  • Financing of up to 30 percent of local costs in addition to the U.S. exports.
  • Financing of ancillary services and fees, such as financial, legal, or lender fees.

CTSBDC Business Advisors are here to help prepare your loan application. Contact us today.


Additional Resources

CTSBDC works with a number of agencies and organizations who to support small businesses who are looking to export, including:

U.S. Commercial Service

The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) offers various resources and programs available to small business owners to help them evaluate their export options.

Sample Export Plan

Much like creating a business plan when starting a business, creating an international business plan when looking to expand internationally will prepare you respond appropriately as your business grows. The U.S. DOC has provided this outline of a sample export plan to help small businesses get started.


Food Export Association

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (Food Export-Midwest) and Food Export USA-Northeast (Food Export-Northeast) are non-profit organizations composed of 13 Midwestern and 10 Northeastern state agricultural promotion agencies that provide U.S. companies with the programs and services needed to export and sell their products internationally.

Learn more about the Food Export Association