Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia has received $578,500 in grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program. The STEP grant is designed to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “International trade is a key part of my plan to create private sector jobs and build a new Virginia economy that is less reliant on the federal government. By providing resources and services to increase international trade, 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 Virginia’s small businesses.”
“In 2014, more than 86 percent of Virginia’s exporting companies were small and medium-sized companies with fewer than 500 employees. These firms generated more than 28% of Virginia’s total products exported,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Helping Virginia small businesses sell their products and services abroad is one of our most effective business expansion strategies.”
The STEP Grant will generate international sales for Virginia’s small businesses by providing the following international trade promotion services for eligible small businesses:
- Opportunities to participate in international trade shows
- Face-to-face meetings with potential customers and partners by travelling to international markets
- Website translation, search engine optimization and localization
- Advertising and translation services
Receipt of this federal grant was made possible by Governor McAuliffe’s $1.0 million funding of the Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL), which was announced in July 2015. To date, two federal grants totaling over $2.4 million have been awarded to Virginia to increase international trade. VITAL’s goals are to increase Virginia’s exports by $1.6 billion and to create 14,000 trade-supported jobs over the next 5 years. The SBA grant will be administered by the International Trade Division of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.