The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) today announced that its Division of International Trade is adapting its Trade Missions program to a virtual platform in response to the impacts of the pandemic, travel restrictions, and sustained interest in international business development assistance by Virginia exporters. Virtual Market Visits will allow companies to continue to utilize International Trade’s services in target markets to build business abroad, meeting one-on-one with potential customers and sales partners in those countries from the comfort and convenience of their computers via video conference.
“VEDP’s International Trade team pivoted quickly to adapt its world-class Trade Missions program to an innovative model that provides a vehicle for clients to maintain global business development efforts despite current travel restrictions,” said Stephen Moret, VEDP President and CEO. “Facilitating connections between Virginia exporters and new customers is more important than ever, and we remain committed to delivering our proven programs to help both new and experienced exporters grow their international sales.”
VEDP International Trade connects clients with its global network of consultants in more than 75 countries to identify, screen, and set appointments with qualified distributors, agents, or partners in targeted markets. VEDP consultants will schedule Virtual Market Visits on a rolling basis over a three- to four-week period using the platform of choice, brief companies on doing business in the destination country, and facilitate each meeting to ensure smooth logistics and translation, if necessary. Companies can choose to join any of VEDP’s 11 group Trade Missions or do a virtual visit independently to any country in its Global Network. These well-planned virtual visits are business meetings set up with client input, providing a fast-track itinerary that saves time, minimizes risk, and puts companies in front of new customers.
“I initially passed on virtual trade missions, but now I see their benefit,” said Kevin McNeil, Director of International Sales at Dilon Technologies and a participant in a Virtual Market Visit to Chile in April 2020. “The connections of VEDP and their in-country consultants make finding partners much more profitable than my individual efforts, especially when I have to interact remotely.”
The Commonwealth of Virginia exports more than $36 billion in goods and services annually. Exports of products and services to countries around the world are vital to Virginia’s growth, supporting more than 257,000 jobs and generating $2 billion in annual tax revenue. VEDP offers numerous programs to assist Virginia companies with selling into the global marketplace.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion, and international trade development.