The US Small Business Administration is providing $30 million in grants to states, territories, and the District of Columbia, to help increase exporting by small businesses during the next 12 months. The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, under the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP). Vermont has been allocated $363,768.The STEP program, launched in March, aligns with President Obama’s National Export Initiative. The President’s initiative calls for doubling U.S. exports in five years ‘ and in so doing, supporting two million jobs. The program provides federal government funding for 65 to75 percent of program costs, with states supplying the remainder. SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced the awards today at an event in Raleigh, N.C., at Raleigh Denim, a small business that produces and exports denim products. Forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands received STEP grants.‘Strengthening the nation’s economy through a substantial increase of U.S. exports is a top priority for the Administration and the agency,’ said Mills. ‘This is a unique partnership between the federal government and the states. Sharing responsibilities and resources will help new small exporters across the country enter and succeed in the global market.’The funding will support participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscriptions to services provided by the Department of Commerce, website translations fees, design of international marketing media, trade show exhibitions, participation in training workshops, and other critical export initiatives.Small businesses that want to receive assistance under the STEP program should contact the organizations serving the states in which they are located. For a list of these organizations and more information about the STEP program, visit http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2889/resources/14315(link is external).The SBA anticipates it will conduct a new competition for STEP program grants during the winter of 2011. Awards will be made in September 2012 for export support services by states over the following 12 months.
American Lung Association recommends closing affiliated summer campsThe American Lung Association (ALA) has asked about 50 summer camps with which it is affiliated with to close, after four children who attended one of the camps were diagnosed with H1N1 flu, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. An ALA spokeswoman said she wasn’t sure how many ALA camps would follow the advice. Patients who have asthma and other chronic conditions are at greater risk for flu complications. In June the Muscular Dystrophy Association canceled its camps for similar reasons.California nurses detail complaint about masksThe California Nurses Association yesterday detailed the complaints of nurses at a Vallejo hospital about inadequate respiratory protection to care for patients with novel flu. They said the hospital had too few N95 masks, and the masks were not properly fitted. Also, they said they were asked to reuse masks repeatedly and to wear surgical masks over the N95s. A hospital official told the Associated Press that only one employee had confirmed H1N1 flu and that the masks could be safely reused.[Jul 14 California Nurses Association press release]Australia and Chile each exceed 10,000 H1N1 casesAustralia and Chile have both counted more than 10,000 H1N1 flu cases, according to reports today from Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Reuters. In Australia, which has had 22 deaths, patients’ average age is 19, and authorities are worried about a growing number of serious cases in young, otherwise healthy people, according to AFP. Chile has had 33 deaths, and its case count is the highest in South America, according to Reuters.Tonga reports first H1N1 casesThe South Pacific archipelago of Tonga has reported its first two cases of novel H1N1 flu, according to a report today from Radio Australia News. Blood tests conducted in Australia confirmed the illness in two women, one a resident and the other a visitor from Brisbane, Australia, the report said.[Radio Australia report]