The Oklahoma Department of Commerce announces the Oklahoma STEP Forward Enhancement Fund, part of the State Trade Expansion Program, an export promotion initiative that makes matching-fund grants for states to assist small businesses. This grant is funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The intent of this program is to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting, and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting,” said Jennifer Springer, Director of Global Recruitment and Trade Services, at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.


Download the STEP Fund Flyer here.

Funding for this year will help eligible companies to offset the cost to participate at designated international trade shows and allow them to promote their Oklahoma-made products on a global scale.  In addition, other services such as website translations and marketing design; compliance testing; and shipping of sample products into international markets can be used toward the grant as well.

“The STEP grant, in partnership between the U.S. and Oklahoma Department of Commerce, is an incredible opportunity for Oklahoma exporters to receive marketing assistance to promote their products or services worldwide,” said Chuck Mills, President of Mills Machine and previous STEP grant recipient. “The program enabled us to translate our website into another language which made it easier for our customers to understand our product line!”

To be considered for the Oklahoma STEP Fund, all applicants are required to submit an application and supporting documentation. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce will begin taking applications from Oklahoma small businesses starting November 1, 2016.

A full application, guidelines and requirements can be found online at For more information, contact the Global Recruitment and Trade Division at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce at (800) 879-6552, or 405-815-5136 or

Shared via our resident New Jersey connection, OKGIT member George Lee of Red Devil Inc., these trade events and opportunities will be  hosted via our partners at the U.S. Commercial Service’s Northern New Jersey office in the coming month. Many of these are webinars, so no need to fly out to the Garden State!

Port of CatoosaRobert Portiss, director of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority, was recently named a White House Transportation Champion of Change at a ceremony in Washington D.C. for his work in forging a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas-Oklahoma Port Operators Association.

An editorial in the Oct. 13 Tulsa World described Portiss’ work on Oklahoma’s largest seaport, saying “Portiss has been the driving force and head cheerleader for the Port of Catoosa almost since it opened.”

Located just outside Catoosa, Oklahoma, the Port of Catoosa is the head of navigation of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. The port itself is home to Foreign Trade Zone 53, where foreign goods and domestic products are considered outside of the U.S. Customs official territory, making goods inside the FTZ international commerce.

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa has an economic impact of $300 million on Oklahoma, with nearly 5.7 million tons of freight traveling the Oklahoma portions of the waterway in 2012 alone. Customers send and receive more than 2.2 million tons of cargo each year by barge, rail and truck. With more than 60 companies employing more than 4,000 Oklahomans, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is one of the premier economic engines of Oklahoma. Costing $1.3 billion to complete in 1971, it was the most expensive civil works project ever undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Eningeers. To date, more than $1.5 billion has been invested at the port by private industry, supporting jobs across the northeast parts of Oklahoma.

Top photo: “Aerial photo of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa taken May 5, 2008” by Bsbanks – Aerial photograph with the assistance of John Shoemaker.

Great news coming from the Journal Record, as MidAmerica Industrial Park launches plans for a $50 million expansion of facilities in Pryor, Okla.

According to a Journal Record report by Kirby Lee Davis, the park’s remaining 4,000 acres of unused land could be put into development by 2020. The industrial park will also host the future MidAmerica Career Center, a workforce development project.

Established in 1960, MidAmerica Industrial Park lies just 40 miles from Tulsa, Okla. and within quick transit distance of Interstate 35, Interstate 40 and Interstate 44, allowing next day delivery to 23 percent of the United States population. Rail, waterway and air transit corridors are also nearby, and MidAmerica’s shovel ready sites are perfect for large and small scale businesses looking to put people to work.

For international companies, both importers and exporters, MidAmerica offers a unique incentive as Foreign-Trade Zone 53 offers reductions, deferments or eliminations of duties.

MidAmerica is also home to Red Devil Inc. whose Vice President George Lee, is a leading member of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team. Red Devil manufactures a broad and diversified line of hand tools and chemical products for professional and home maintenance and improvement – more than 400 different products in all. In addition to producing caulks, sealants and tools under its own brand name, the company also manufactures private label products for some of the nation’s largest hardware and home center chains.

To learn more about MidAmerica’s expansion plans, please read the entire Journal Record article here.