The Maryland International Trade Division agreed Tuesday to give the county a matching grant to help businesses interested in exporting products abroad.
County companies with exporting potential now can come to the county Department of Economic and Community Development for assistance in developing programs, Director James C. Threatte said.
The state will give the county up to $10,000, which the county must match, said Harold R. Zassenhaus, assistant director of the International Trade Division, part of the Department of Economic and Employment Development.
Threatte said $10,000 from the county will come from his department's budget.
William E. Jenne, business development manager in the county office, completed an export training course so the county could qualify for state money.
The University of Maryland Survey and Research Center conducted a survey of county businesses to determine the potential for exporting. Of about 130 companies surveyed, about 25 percent already are exporting.
Threatte said county exports range from agricultural products to high-tech equipment.
Smaller companies probably will be the ones to take advantage of the new program, he said. The potential for exporting is great now with markets opening up in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, he said.
"Smaller companies just need to get their foot in the door," Threatte said.
The grant money will allow the county to set up a loan program to help businesses, he said.
The department will help companies make plans to attend overseas trade trips with Gov. William Donald Schaefer or display their products or brochures at overseas trade shows, Threatte said.