Applications are now being accepted by the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) for funding assistance to help companies promote their food and agriculture products internationally.
SUSTA, through the federal Market Access Program (MAP), reimburses companies up to 50 percent of their export promotional costs—such as product advertising in foreign markets, exhibiting at international trade shows and adapting their product labels for foreign laws—helping them become competitive in global markets. Hundreds of companies that take advantage of this program each year see direct benefits. Last year, companies enrolled in SUSTA’s programs exported nearly $200 million in American food and agriculture thanks to SUSTA funding and assistance.
“In the next decade, there will be more than nine billion people to feed worldwide, yet only one in 100 U.S. companies currently export,” said SUSTA’s Executive Director Jerry Hingle. “The southern U.S. is perfectly suited to meet this demand but many are missing out on the profitability of tapping into 95 percent of the world’s consumers because they don’t how. We’re here to help American businesses take advantage of this opportunity by giving them the resources and guidance they need to market their products internationally.”
The Market Access Program is funded through by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and funds are directed to small- and medium-sized companies based in the Southern U.S.
“Funding is limited, so we encourage companies that want to take advantage of this program over the coming year to get their applications in early,” said SUSTA Marketing and Communications Director Danielle Viguerie. “We have staff on hand ready to walk applicants through the process. It’s our goal to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small American businesses.”
To be eligible for the MAP Brand Promotion, companies must be considered small according to U.S. Small Business Administration standards. The products promoted must have a brand name and be sourced from at least 50 percent of U.S. agricultural contents. Companies located in any of SUSTA’s member states can apply for funding. Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Companies applying for MAP Brand Promotion funds can get started by completing a pre-qualification form on SUSTA’s website, www.susta.org.