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Virginia's international growth strategy for manufacturers

Launched in January 2002, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program assists exporters in the Commonwealth that have firmly established domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as an expansion strategy. Participating firms are chosen based on their dedication to growth through export.

State graduates 12 Virginia companies from two-year export business program

Pictured above: Graduating companies were recognized by Governor McAuliffe during a luncheon at the downtown Omni Hotel in the capital city of Richmond, Virginia.

Among the graduating class is global business software company xTuple. As part of the program, xTuple participated in a Fall 2014 trade forum held in Ontario (Canada) and partnered with the American Embassy Manila (Philippines) in January 2015 in a technology seminar held at the Marco Polo Hotel, Ortigas Center in Pasig City.

Consultant Mike Atherton engaged with event attendee in Philippines

The one-day Philippines event was attended by a broad cross-section of manufacturing, trading/distribution and service industries. James McCarthy, U.S. Embassy Commercial Counselor, introduced Washington, D.C.-based xTuple Senior Consultant, Mike Atherton, who discussed how businesses can employ technology to take advantage of opportunities in the rapidly expanding Philippine economy and compete in the global marketplace with their high-quality manufactured products.

Other VALET program graduating companies include Cask LLC of Stafford County; Dynamic Aviation of Rockingham County; ENSCO, Euclid Systems, and TAS-Corp of Fairfax County; G2 Ops of Virginia Beach; Kollmorgen of Radford; Lumber Liquidators of James City County; Premium Steel of Roanoke; Rainbow Station of Henrico County; and WeightPack Inc. of Powhatan County.

Participating companies increase international sales by an average of 36 percent during their two years in the VALET program.

“The VALET program puts participating companies on the fast track to international business growth by connecting them with the necessary tools for successful export sales,” said Paul Grossman, VEDP Vice President of International Trade. “The companies graduating this month have put in a tremendous amount of work and demonstrated their commitment to international expansion by taking advantage of the full range of resources offered by the VALET Program. That work has paid off, in the form of increased sales and new international partnerships, and I am confident that they will continue to see a return on their investment in the coming years.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) is a marketing organization created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The staff and Board of Directors, appointed by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly, help accomplish VEDP's objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade.

To learn more about the VALET program, visit

Commonwealth of Virginia Governor McAuliffe announced VITAL

During the ceremony, Governor McAuliffe also announced the creation of Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL), a new initiative managed by the VEDP to increase international trade in Virginia. VITAL expands the Commonwealth’s nationally recognized international trade program via formal partnerships with Virginia’s public universities, industry associations and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to serve their member companies as they expand international sales.

Speaking at the event, Governor McAuliffe said, “As we continue to recruit new businesses to the Commonwealth, we also need to help our existing businesses export their goods and services. 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. This new VITAL initiative demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to helping existing Virginia businesses succeed in the international marketplace, making our economy even stronger.”

“Helping Virginia businesses sell their manufactured goods and services abroad is one of our most effective business expansion strategies, and this initiative is designed to do just that,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones who also spoke at the event. “The Commonwealth exported over $36 billion in manufactured goods and services in 2014. VITAL will exponentially accelerate Virginia companies’ engagement with the global economy, resulting in stronger, more resilient businesses and more jobs for Virginians.”

VITAL will build upon Virginia’s proven export assistance programs, including tailored market research, face-to-face meetings with qualified partners overseas, and VEDP’s award-winning VALET Program. In 2014-2015, VEDP took 176 companies on trade missions across the globe to find customers in new international markets. Governor McAuliffe has made the program a priority and reallocated $1 million toward the initiative through flexibility granted to him in the state budget.

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones speaks at VALET graduation

As partners to VITAL, Virginia’s public universities identify companies with international business as a corporate strategy and conduct international research to position these companies for global expansion. VITAL partners in its initial year include Virginia Chamber of Commerce; Virginia Manufacturers Association; Virginia Maritime Association; Northern Virginia Technology Council; Christopher Newport University; College of William & Mary; James Madison University; George Mason University; Old Dominion University; University of Mary Washington; Virginia Commonwealth University; Virginia Military Institute; and Virginia Tech.

Goals for VITAL include growing Virginia exports by $1.6 billion in five year; creating 14,000 trade-supported jobs in five years; and increasing the number of companies enrolled in VEDP’s international trade programs to serve 390 companies per year.

“The Virginia Manufacturers Association is committed to expanding manufacturing exports 50% by 2025,” said Brett Vassey, President & CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association.  “VITAL is an integral resource for small and medium companies to expand their export sales and open new markets for existing industries. We are proud to be a partner.”


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