Export Assistance

Through the collaboration of federal, state and private agencies known as the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI), we stand ready to be of assistance to new, expanding, and experienced international exporters wishing to sell their products of at least 51% U.S. content overseas. Our experts provide the knowledge and resources to guide Kentucky businesses in the direction for continuous success.

The KEI provides a variety of services to help businesses achieve their international export goals, many of which may be 100% reimbursable to eligible companies through funding by the Kentucky State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant. Working in tandem with partner agencies, companies may select from services that include export readiness assessments and customized individual trade counseling, trade education workshops, B2B matchmaking, international partner searches (IPS) and more. International and domestic trade show exhibitions qualify as activities for businesses to showcase and demonstrate their products and services.

The STEP grant is partially funded through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and administered by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Read more about services and resources available to exporters:


The federal government’s International Trade Administration (trade.gov) has created an online assessment that can help you determine your readiness to export products. Access that assessment form here.

Export Readiness Assessment


Since 2011, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has provided financial assistance to over 235 Kentucky companies through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). STEP is a grant that 100% reimburses eligible Kentucky businesses for international export development activities identified by the SBA including:

  • Support for small business participation in foreign trade missions and foreign market sales trips
  • Utilization of services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce including Gold Key Service, business matchmaking, market research, single company promotions, and international partner searches (IPS), and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office
  • Payment of website fees for e-commerce platforms and translation services
  • Design of international marketing media (digital or print) to promote products or services
  • Fees for international and domestic trade show exhibitions to showcase and demonstrate U.S. products or services when audience includes international buyers
  • Participation in training workshops which will directly benefit or assist the company with gaining credible knowledge of export policies, regulations, and/or best practices
  • Compliance testing, B2B meetings
  • Export Credit Insurance premiums for EXIM short term small business policyholders, foreign buyer reports, credit letters of report, Certificate of Origin, legal reviews of distributor agreements
  • Other export initiatives determined to be appropriate by the SBA.


The STEP grant is partially funded through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and administered by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.


The KEI partnership is experienced in business matchmaking for Kentucky companies interested in locating international partners. Matchmaking can be done on an individual basis or as a part of targeted trade missions.

Through the International Trade Association (ITA) U.S. Commercial Service, the Gold Key Service provides U.S. companies with matchmaking appointments with up to five interested partners in a foreign market. Additionally, the International Partner Search can provide a list of up to five partners/distributors that have expressed an interest in the client’s goods/services.

For more information on B2B Matchmaking, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service Kentucky or contact us at kyexports@ky.gov.


How to enter into new markets, answers to compliance questions, information on international laws, testimonials by business owners, and other export development education topics are often presented via live webinars by the KEI partners and other national/international organizations. Modestly priced and convenient, export education webinars can be 100% reimbursed through the KY STEP grant.

For more information on upcoming webinars that may be able to help or to apply for the STEP grant, please contact us at kyexports@ky.gov. Access the Events page directly to register for upcoming webinars, trade shows, and trade missions.


Our partner organizations bring a wide array of skills and specialties to the table that can help you, your business, and your communities succeed. Export education and certification programs are available on topics ranging from logistics to market entry strategies and can be tailored to your unique needs.

For more information about our partner organizations and their services, please see our partner profiles or please contact us.

  • U.S. Commercial Service
  • World Trade Center Kentucky
  • Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC)
  • Kentucky Manufacturing Extension Partnership

    KEI periodically hosts trade missions for companies of all sizes. Contact kyexports@ky.gov for details.


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