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International Trade Exhibition Reimbursements

International Trade Exhibition Reimbursements will be awarded to exporters seeking to tap new global markets through international trade show exhibitions of choice.

Program Closed for STEP FY17

Apply to this program if you expect to spend at least $5,000 to exhibit in a qualifying trade show.


Qualifying trade shows include:

  • Quality trade shows in foreign countries
  • Quality domestic trade shows with strong international attendance

Domestic trade shows criteria:

  • Proposed domestic trade show is included in the 2018 Trade Show Schedule of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program, which brings foreign buyer delegations to the trade show.
  • For other domestic trade shows, applicants must submit a short statement outlining their company strategy to achieve export sales at the trade show for review. If approved, applicants must provide a list of matchmaking activities completed, if any, and a list of international leads contacted during the trade show.

This program requires recipients to match 75% of every awarded dollar. This means companies must plan to spend an additional 75 cents for every requested dollar.
The maximum award per International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement is $10,000, which requires $7,500 in recipient cash match. The minimum required award for this program is $5,000, which requires $3,750 in recipient cash match.


Qualifying expenses:

  • Booth space rental
  • Booth design and construction
  • Booth marketing materials (souvenirs/product give aways are not eligible)
  • Furniture rental
  • Booth services at the trade show
  • Registration fees
  • Design of marketing media – Including creation of websites, landing pages in foreign languages, website translations, website localization services, search engine optimization, Google AdWords, and marketing materials translations and printing. Reimbursements limited to $3,000. Remaining balance can be accepted as part of the recipient cash match calculation.
  • Fee-based export services offered by the U.S. Commercial Service – Click here for more information.
  • Shipping expenses – For shipping samples, marketing materials and exhibiting displays. Reimbursement limited to $2,000. Remaining balance can be accepted as part of the recipient cash match calculation.
  • Travel expensesTravel expenses are not reimbursable under this program, but they can be accepted as part of the recipient cash match calculation. Travel expenses are limited to four (4) authorized company representatives. Airfare is not subject to the Fly America Act. Lodging and per diems are not subject to the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. General Service Administration guidelines.


Applications must be approved prior to the commencement of the selected trade show.

Applicants must demonstrate that exhibiting at the selected trade show will support a new international market entry or a new market expansion project such as a new product launch, selling to new geographical area within a country, or catering to a new industry sector.

Preference will be given to applicants with prior domestic or international trade show experience. Applications including business to business appointments with potential customers at the show will be considered stronger.

Exhibiting booths must be staffed by direct employees or authorized company representatives.

Qualifying small businesses are eligible for only one International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement during the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Program funding period.

Funding Period

The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period is October 1, 2017, through September 29, 2018.

Proposed trade shows must take place during the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period in order to be considered.

Expenses must be incurred during the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period to be valid for reimbursement. Exception: fees to secure exhibiting space can be paid up to a year prior to the start of the funding period.

Qualifying expenses will be reimbursed upon completion of trade show and submission of proof of payment and expense receipts.

Eligibility criteria

Eligible small businesses must meet the following criteria in order to be considered to receive an International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement.

  • Is organized or incorporated in the United States
  • Has a physical address located in West Virginia
  • Complies with The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards
  • Has been in business for no less than 1 year
  • Has access to sufficient resources to bear the cost associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.
  • Has a finished product or qualifying service with at least 51% U.S. content
  • Is not barred from receiving federal funds
  • Is in good standing with the WV State Department of Tax and Revenue
  • Agrees to complete one post-event survey, four quarterly performance surveys during the first year, and a yearly performance survey for the next two years