International Trade Show Exhibition

Exhibiting at wholesale trade shows is a great way to introduce your products to a global audience, as well as to keep your products top-of-mind in the worldwide marketplace. However, international trade shows can be expensive and often will not return sales for up to 3 years. To help limit your risk of trying out a new show, Montana STEP grant provides partial reimbursement for international trade show expenses.

*Submit your application at least 30 days before the show.



  • 50% reimbursement of trade show expenses
    • For domestic trade shows, up to $5,000
    • For international trade shows, up to $10,000
  • A travel stipend for 1 staff per company (importers, in-country reps, and distributors are NOT eligible for the stipend)
    • International: $2,000
    • Domestic: $500

*All air travel must comply with the Fly America Act which requires international destination flights on a U.S. Flag Carrier. Contact Export Montana with questions.

Eligible Trade Shows

  • International trade shows (shows outside the USA)
  • Some domestic shows (shows within the USA), if you are exhibiting at the show to find new international buyers
  • Contact Export Montana for prior approval for domestic shows
  • Any domestic shows not eligible for the STEP grant may be eligible for Montana’s Trade Show Assistance Program.

Eligible Small Businesses

To be eligible for the Montana STEP grant, you must:

  • have been in business for more than 1 year
  • meet the SBA’s definition of a small business
  • market products that are of U.S. origin or have at least 51% U.S. content
  • show in the STEP application your understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers, including the costs of freight forwarding, customs brokers, packing and shipping, etc.
  • agree to provide the program with export activities/results from the grant activities

Eligible Expenses*

  • International Travel Stipend
  • Exhibit space fees and registration
  • Booth rental
  • Booth production (cannot exceed $5000)
  • Display elements (graphics, banners, signs, racks, decorations, lighting)
  • Booth furnishings (table, chairs)
  • Shipping and storage (drayage, freight, exhibit storage); up to $4,000
  • Show services (set-up and tear down, utilities, card reader, security) and
  • Trade show promotional literature

*If an anticipated cost is not listed above, contact Export Montana to ensure eligibility.

Ineligible Expenses

  • Creation of or supplementing a reserve or contingency fund or account
  • Match or support for any other Federal projects
  • Entertainment costs, including meals, alcohol, parties, receptions, mixers, or other social activities, or tickets to shows or sporting events
  • Souvenirs, models, imprinted clothing, buttons, gifts, prizes, promotional items, mementos, scholarships, contributions, donations, or similar gratuitous transfers (whether in the form of cash, property, or services)
  • Advertising, including an ad in the show brochure or website
  • Membership fees or dues in any business, technical, trade, professional, civic, community, country club, social or dining organization (whether in the name of the recipient organization or an individual)
  • Fund-raising (including, but not limited to, soliciting funding or contributions or raising investment capital from individuals, public/private organizations, or government entities)
  • Lobbying or "grassroots" advocacy activities (including the endorsement or opposition of political parties, candidates, initiatives, referenda, petitions, or the cost of protests or demonstrations) directed at any level or branch of government
  • Employee or owner salaries or compensation
  • Indirect costs or depreciation; bid and proposal costs; legal expenses; fines, penalties and mischarging costs
  • Any cost not directly related to international trade development and preapproved by this program



  • Apply here.  Please note: our application process is now fully web based, so you will be directed to to apply.  Please contact our office if you have trouble with the process.
  • You may apply for any of the STEP-eligible activities at the same time (trade show, translation, USCS services, etc.).
  • STEP grant priorities are:
    • Companies new to the STEP grant
    • Companies with more than 2 employees
    • For each company, 1 STEP grant award for each of the activities per year.  Should there be any remaining monies once these priorities are met, funding a company’s applications for additional shows or other activities will be considered.
  • If you need help with any aspect of the application, contact Export Montana.
  • We will confirm receipt of the application within 7 days and notify you of approval within 14 days.


To receive reimbursement for your approved grant, please fill out the reimbursement form online.  Be prepared with your:

  • W9 form – due with reimbursement request
  • Copies of receipts of expenses
  • A picture of your booth
  • For domestic shows, 50% reimbursement of trade show expenses, up to $5,000
  • For international, 50% reimbursement of trade show expenses, up to $10,000

Yearly Progress Reports

Export Montana will contact you annually to receive updates on results from the trade show.

Export Montana may request additional report updates if needed to monitor the activity and satisfy SBA reporting requirements.

You can only apply for future awards if you are current on STEP grant reporting requirements.