Global Business Development

Program Goal:

The goal of the Global Business Development (GBD) Program is to support the export capabilities of businesses in the state of Wisconsin.

This program supports the following WEDC Strategic Pillar and Focus Area:

Business Development: Export and International Trade

Program Description:

The program consists of the International Market Access Grant (IMAG) and the Collaborative Market Access Grant (CMAG). The IMAG provides funding to support a company’s specific export development and deployment strategy with WEDC’s international staff providing technical assistance. The CMAG aids these efforts through an industry-focused intermediary.

Eligibility Requirements:


  • Be an established business operating for not less than one year that manufactures, processes, assembles and/or distributes a product or performs a service with a potential to be exported. The company does not need to be headquartered in Wisconsin but must have export-related operations located within the state and provide economic impact to the state.
  • Self-certify that at least 35% of the value of the product or of the service is composed of Wisconsin cost inputs. Program staff provide an Excel tool to help determine eligibility upon request.
  • The company must be new-to-exporting (no significant export sales or novice/accidental exports) or participating in a a market expansion. International market is defined as a country, region, or market channel within in a country.
  • The company agrees to a minimum cost-match of 30% of the total grant awarded. Past costs may not be considered for match.
  • Grant funds may not be used for past costs.
  • Additionally, companies receiving IMAGs funded by the federal State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) must meet the following requirements:
    • Be a graduate of the ExporTech™ Program
    • Have profitable U.S. operations
    • Meet the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) requirement for a “small business concern” – manufacturing companies must have fewer than 500 employees and agricultural companies must have revenues less than $7 Million
    • Has a demonstrated understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers through an export budget, and has a strategic plan for exporting
    • Adhere to all federal requirements related to the STEP funds

IMAG assistance categories are generally:

  • Trade Shows/Conferences/Meetings/Missions: Assistance may be provided to attend a US 
Department of Commerce, WEDC approved domestic trade show, an international-based trade 
show, conference or business meetings. Assistance will not be approved for WEDC-sponsored trade ventures or missions.
  • Market Customization: Assistance may be granted for translation of web/printed materials for a 
targeted foreign market, design services, advertising, and/or printing. Also for company/product/foreign trade zone certification, registration, and marketing within the foreign market.
  • Export Education & Competency Building: Assistance may be approved to support international and export related conferences, seminars, meetings, webinars, and courses. These educational opportunities are for staff who will be implementing the company’s international export strategy. Also support could be given which would increase a company’s export competency, sustainability, and/or growth within a specific market could be considered.
  • Consulting Services: Assistance may be funded for services with WEDC’s Global Business Network Providers, match maker services, Gold Keys, consultants, or brokers.


  • Eligible recipients of a CMAG include industry associations, alliances, agencies, regional economic development organizations, or other state/local departments located in Wisconsin working with Wisconsin companies to increase exports.
  • Collaborators must provide a compelling case for the partnership for how the project will benefit Wisconsin companies with international exports, demonstrate organizational support for the administration of the project, and provide an explanation for why their services are needed and how these grant funds will make an impact.
  • The companies benefiting from these funds must comply with the eligible business requirements of the IMAG.
  • Eligible expenses allowed for CMAGs may include, but are not limited to, those eligible under the IMAG
  • Recipients may be eligible for administrative costs to support the project.  If applicable administrative costs must be clearly outlined in the contract

Incentives and Available Funding (FY17): $1,432,600

Funding will be in the form of grants and will draw from two funding sources:

  • $1,200,000 from state funds
  • $232,600 from federal STEP funds (may only be used for IMAGs)

Use of federal STEP funding has specific requirements for the release of funds and reporting requirements. The funding source utilized will be based on the ability of the proposed project and funding structure to meet federal funding eligibility requirements.

  • Wisconsin companies may take advantage of both state and federal funding, but may not use both to fund the same project.
  • GBD grant funds may not be used to finance a WEDC Trade Venture or Mission or to participate in the ExporTech™ Program.
  • STEP participants may apply for further IMAG assistance but may not go over the total $25,000 limit.

IMAG: Wisconsin businesses may be awarded up to $25,000 per WEDC fiscal year with ExporTech™ graduates able to access the full award amount and other companies accessing up to $10,000. Awards funded by federal STEP funds will be limited to $15,000.

CMAG: Eligible recipients may be awarded up to $150,000 per WEDC fiscal year. Administrative funding is included in the cap and should be budgeted for accordingly. Pass-thru assistance is capped at $15,000 per company.

Activities and Expected Outcomes:

Assist 123 businesses

  • IMAG: assist 95 businesses
  • CMAG: make 3 awards to 3 organizations to support 28 businesses

Performance Reporting:

Recipients will be required to submit a performance report documenting project completion, as well as any other contract deliverable.

WEDC may impose additional reporting requirements to evaluate project performance and to ensure compliance with contract deliverables.

Application and Awards Process:

Applicants for an IMAG or a CMAG should complete an application through an account manager. Applications will be assigned to an underwriter and go through the award review process.

For more information on application review, internal process and award distribution, please refer to WEDC’s award administration policies and procedures.