e-Commerce, Website Globalization, and International Digital Marketing

The STEP grant can help defray the cost of many aspects of your international online strategy, including your Website, Online Marketplace, Social Media, and 3rd Party In-Country Distributor.  Consider the mix of available sales channels when planning your eCommerce strategy. 


Submit your application at least 30 days before beginning your project.


  • 50% reimbursement of international e-Commerce and website fees, up to $10,000
  • 50% reimbursement of international digital marketing expenses, up to $10,000

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*

Whether you hire your own contractor, or you use the Montana Online Global program, eligible e-Commerce and website fees expenses include:

  • Design and develop website with an international focus
  • Oversight and maintenance/monitoring fee* for SEO (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results)
  • Online market listing fees (online sites such as Etsy, Amazon, and eBay charge nominal fees for listing items on their website)
  • e-Commerce Platform,including hosting and/or maintenance fees (e-Commerce software enables a business to sell products and services online)
  • Expenses to set up websites to accept international payments
  • Montana Online Global Program: a selected contractor offering a packaged, all-inclusive deal for Montana exporters
  • Website Globalization Review Gap Analysis: an evaluation of a business’s website from international marketing and sales perspective, resulting in a report providing website SEO enhancements that will make your web presence more appealing and functional for overseas sales prospects.

*Any maintenance or monitoring activities must be concluded by September 30th annually. 

Eligible International Digital Marketing expenses include:

  • Design of international digital marketing, including all forms and channels of social media and digital ad placements (like traditional advertising, digital marketing promotes your business, products, and services to generate brand awareness, sales, etc. on digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, and more); and
  • Translation of marketing media, including audio and video.

Ineligible Expenses

  • 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 access.gov 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.


  • Export Montana will evaluate applications.
  • Export Montana makes the final decision, at its sole discretion, whether to fund an application, request additional information, and request SBA review of the application.
  • Upon award, Export Montana will send the company an agreement email which will outline processes and procedures.


To receive reimbursement for website globalization, e-commerce, and digital marketing, please fill out the reimbursement form by logging into your account at access.gov.  Be prepared with your;

  • W9 form – due with reimbursement request
  • Copies of receipts of expenses
  • 50% reimbursement of international e-Commerce and website fees, up to $10,000
  • 50% reimbursement of international digital marketing expenses, up to $10,000

Yearly Progress Reports

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

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