Virginia's Export Assistance Programs Designed to Achieve Global Success


     Did you know that over 95% of the world's population lives outside the U.S.? That spells opportunity! That is why our only goal is to help Virginia companies sell their goods and services to those billions of people living outside the U.S. 
    The Virginia Economic Development Partnership Division of International Trade (VEDP-IT) has a staff of 22 professionals across the state and around the world. Our team has extensive international and private sector experience and we are ready to assist Virginia exporters as they expand internationally! 
    The VEDP-IT assists Virginia's companies that export services and manufactured goods. The VEDP works with small and large companies, both private and public from all types of industries including mining. Generally speaking, we do not work with start up companies. Companies need a successful U.S. track record before they can succeed internationally since it takes money and manpower to expand internationally. 
    The VEDP-IT helps new exporters and experienced exporters that want to enter new markets. 
Virginia based International Trade Managers, like Diane Thomas of VEDP's Abingdon office, are the first point of contact for Virginia companies. They are strategically positioned across the state to meet one-on-one with companies to assess their individual needs. 
    The Trade Managers provide clients market intelligence which helps them to prepare an export plan of action. These export plans include market research and training, introductions to potential distributors and counseling from our overseas offices. The VEDP-IT has offices in Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, and Japan. Each overseas office is staffed by native international business professionals who work on behalf of Virginia companies to expand their business in the region.
    While most services are free, some programs are fee based like our Global Market Research Program and participation in trade exhibits and trade missions. These programs are offered at significant discounts and are subsidized by the state.


International Trade Division - Virginia

    Information is extremely valuable. Research helps companies put their valuable resources to work in the markets with the least risk and maximum return. Many Virginia companies need to conduct custom market research or special surveys which can't be done here in the U.S. Whether you want to survey potential buyers and distributors, or assess pricing across various sales channels, Virginia's Global Market Research (GMR) program answers a wide-array of research questions. The GMR program gives Virginia firms access to in-country researchers, though a world-wide network of market research firms. Virginia businesses get quick, actionable market intelligence at a fraction of the prevailing cost. 
    Exporting requires overseas travel. Face-to-face meetings are just as important when conducting international business as they are domestically. We help Virginia companies develop relationships overseas through participation in international trade shows and trade missions. Joint exhibits increase your visibility and reduce the costs of exhibiting on your own internationally. Trade mission participants in effect get on the fast-track to success. Trade mission participants benefit from pre-arranged meetings with potential buyers or sales representatives overseas. Every meeting matches each companies unique product and market objectives. Participants also benefit from translation assistance, meeting room coordination, in-country transportation and networking receptions and discounted hotel and travel packages. 
    While all our programs pay you in terms of export revenue, we even have a program that actually gives you cash reimbursements and pro-bono services, the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program. Virginia companies who meet minimum requirements may prefer the more focused in-depth approach that the VALET program offers. The program assists exporters in the Commonwealth that have firmly established domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as an expansion strategy. The program is the first of its kind in the United States and recently received national recognition for its innovation by The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP). 
    The VALET program is in effect a two-year export boot camp open to 15 companies annually. It provides accepted Virginia companies with a highly structured two year export development assistance program. VALET program participants benefit from focused planning, state reimbursement for approved export expenses and limited pro-bono services from 22 private sector program partners such as attorneys, web designers, bankers, translators and freight-forwarders, who contribute essential tools for expansion into international markets. VALET companies also benefit from the development of a comprehensive VALET Plan of Action to structure their international efforts. They also learn from other active exporters through quarterly peer networking meetings, where export challenges and successes are shared. 
    With the acceptance of the class of January 2005, a total of 52 companies have joined the VALET Program since its inception in January 2002. These companies were selected from a competitive applicant pool and represent a diverse cross-section of Virginia's business community including the mining industry. Marshal Miller & Associates graduated in July of 2004 and at that same time PEMCO, Inc. joined the program.
    To date, 6 companies from Southwest Virginia have participated in the nationally recognized program. Diane Thomas, VEDP Trade Manager, Abingdon believes "The VALET program is a great way for companies in Southwest Virginia to connect with service providers and fellow exporters across the Commonwealth. In addition to export training and financial assistance, the VALET program provides invaluable networking opportunities for exporters in this region of the state." 
    The VEDP Division of International Trade also offers educational resources to Virginia exporters. We sponsor training for exporters on topics ranging from export 101 to export compliance and documentation. We issue a free e-mail newsletter named Beyond Virginia every other Wednesday. Anyone can subscribe to Beyond Virginia on any page of our website. Our website's publications page contains over 70 FastFacts export FAQ's on various countries, regions and export issues. Our resources page has links to many additional federal, state and private resources. Of course, additional information on our staff, programs and services, and trade events are also available on our website:  cl

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