TNTrade is a statewide initiative intended to help achieve Governor Haslam's goal of making Tennessee number #1 in the Southeast for high quality jobs by boosting exports by small and medium-sized businesses. Exporting companies grow faster and hire more workers than non-exporting companies, but less than 2% of Tennessee. businesses are exporters. Tennessee's exports totaled roughly $30 billion in 2011 and approximately 20% of the state's manufacturing jobs depend on exports.
TNTrade, administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD), has two primary components geared toward increasing exports by Tennessee small and medium sized businesses: (i) the Market Access Program (MAP); and (ii) leading trade missions to foreign markets. MAP is an export expense reimbursement program that provides a stipend to businesses equal to 50% of any one-time export-related expense (up to $5,000). The TNTrade initiative will be leading two trade mission delegations in 2012: to China and South Korea, and Mexico, respectively. TNTrade is funded through a U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant.