Posted in News by A2IM
Release date: Immediate
Contact: Kelly J. LoTempio
SBA STEP Grant Helps Independent Musician Increase Exports
A2IM Member Fatboy Records finds Success in Trade Mission
BUFFALO, NY – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion(STEP) Grant program has enabled Buffalo-based company, Fatboy Records, owned and operated by Jon Topper and Fatboy Productions , to access to vital opportunities in Seoul, South Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The STEP program, authorized under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, is a 3-year pilot trade and export initiative that makes matching-fund grants for states to assist eligible small businesses, like Fatboy records, to enter or expand their presence in the international marketplace.
In New York State, Empire State Development received STEP grant funding and started “Go East to Export New York, US!” (GEENYUS!), a program to help businesses across the state expand into Chinese and other Far East markets.
The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), of which Fatboy Records are members of, partnered with NYS Empire State Development and was the recipient of STEP grant funding. STEP grant funds allowed independent musician members of A2IM to attend the China-US Trade Mission from September 5-13 of this year with the mission of aiming to increase exports by A2IM music businesses.
“The trade mission was amazing,” said Topper. “The mission was a perfect match and I learned a great deal about the Asian music market, especially the Chinese music industry and its interests.”
The overseas initiative gave Topper the opportunity to network and identify buyers with the ability to distribute music, both physically and digitally over mobile devices, through licensing agreements with additional merchandising opportunities for expansion into film, television, advertising, and more.
Today, the companies work with E1 Entertainment who was also represented on the trade mission trip to distribute the Fatboy Records catalog world-wide. Additionally, they participate in the production of three music festivals, two of which are a three-day camping and music festival and one is a skiing and music festival. Fatboy Productions also works on setting up all the needs of the band Moe to include both domestic and international tours.
Jon Topper encourages other small businesses to utilize the STEP program. “Thanks to the SBA’s STEP promotion program, Fatboy Productions was able to participate in this trade mission, have one-on-one business meetings and meet with over 40 potential new business partner companies.”
“Strengthening the nation’s economy through substantial increases in U.S. exports is a top priority for the SBA,” said Franklin Sciortino, SBA Buffalo district director. “This is a unique partnership between SBA and Empire State Development where sharing resources allows small and medium sized businesses increase exports and succeed in the global market.”
Information about the STEP grant program can be obtained from the Empire State Development’s International Division.
Small business owners interested in exporting their products and services are encouraged to work with SBA resource partners like the Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE, as well as the U.S. Export Assistance Centers that are available to assist small businesses that are interested in exporting. Small business owners looking for additional information on exporting should visit www.export.gov and www.SBA.gov/oit. Additional information on USEACs.