RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia has received more than $359,400 in grant funding to support the Commonwealth’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program. The STEP Program, funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, is designed to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for small businesses that are already selling products overseas. The grant will be administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) International Trade Division.
“Helping Virginia companies engage in international trade is critical for creating private sector jobs and building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking about today’s announcement. “By providing resources and services to increase exports, we help Virginia businesses find new customers around the world and, in turn, create new jobs for Virginians. We are pleased to continue this effective partnership with our federal partners to provide assistance to even more of the Commonwealth’s small businesses.”
This year’s STEP grant will support Virginia companies’ participation in the spring 2017 trade missions to India, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, as well as several international trade shows, including: Arab Health, Expo Seguridad and the Paris Air Show. The grant will generate international sales for Virginia’s small businesses by providing unique opportunities for face-to-face meetings with potential customers and partners.
“This is great news for Virginia’s small businesses, who will continue to benefit from the Commonwealth’s export assistance programs,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “More than 86 percent of Virginia’s exporting companies in 2014 were small to medium-sized businesses that generated nearly 30 percent of Virginia’s total products exported. We need to do everything we can to support the growth of these firms and bring Virginia products to the 90 percent of customers who live outside the U.S.”
More than 100 eligible small businesses were approved to participate in the Commonwealth’s 2015 STEP program. The funds enabled companies to attend international trade shows, conduct individual market visits throughout the world, and receive country-specific marketing assistance.
For more information on the STEP grant program, please visit www.exportvirginia.org/step.