There are some excellent state and local organizations in the Virginia/ DC region that can help you develop export business.
Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP)
The mission of the International Trade Division of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership is to increase the number of Virginia companies selling overseas and their export volume. VEDP helps both new and experienced exporters. Its International Trade programs provide direct support to Virginia companies committed to increasing their exports as a corporate growth strategy. Key VEDP services include:
- Global Defense Program (GDP): GDP helps Virginia’s defense companies diversify into new international markets. Eligible defense-related companies receive assistance with strategy, export compliance, matchmaking, translation, and market research.
- International Market Research: A global network of in-country consultants covering more than 75 countries delivers over 200 international market research reports to Virginia companies annually. They provide valuable in-country market research specific to each company’s needs.
- State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP) Grant: The STEP Grant is designed to increase the number of small businesses that export and raise the value of goods and services exported. It is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Trade Missions: VEDP conducts trade missions where Virginia companies travel internationally to meet face-to-face with potential customers. Meetings are prequalified based on a participating company’s export market objectives.
- Trade Show Assistance Program: VEDP provides reimbursements, up to $10,000, to Virginia companies participating as exhibitors at international trade shows. To qualify for eligibility, the trade show must occur overseas or, if domestic, have a demonstrated international component.
- Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET): VALET is a two-year international business acceleration program that offers a combination of capital resources provided by the Commonwealth and professional services from private-sector partners.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
This department’s Office of International Marketing connects Virginia agricultural producers with export opportunities. It promotes Virginia agricultural commodities, wood products, seafood and specialty food and beverage items through a global network of trade representatives in Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the United Kingdom. The Office also sponsors international trade missions and trade events. It also works closely with partner organizations such as the Southern United States Trade Association, American Hardwood Export Council and a variety of commodity export associations.
Small Business Development Centers
As part of America’s SBDC network, the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the U.S., these organizations help companies at every stage of their business lifecycle. This includes working with business owners who are interested in expanding their sales to overseas markets. SBDCs in our region include:
- Virginia SBDC – George Mason University. Through its International Business Development Program, the SBDC works with established firms to enhance their global success. It is Certified Global Business Professionals provide confidential counseling, training, and customized research to help companies mitigate risk, prioritize markets, identify financing, and grow export sales.
- DC SBDC Export Services. The international trade team at the DC SBDC Network can guide your company and help you plan for and execute a successful export strategy. The DC SBDC Network’s international trade experts provide free individual, customized counseling, training, and technical assistance in the areas of export resources, export readiness, export planning, market research, financing, international marketing, trade regulations & logistics, networking & business matchmaking.
Washington International Trade Association
WITA is the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum in the nation’s capital for the open and robust discussion of international trade and economic issues. WITA members are trade leaders in businesses, law, academia, NGOs, embassies and the U.S. Government.
Northern Virginia Technology Council
NVTC is the membership and trade association for the technology community in Northern Virginia. As the largest technology council in the nation, NVTC serves about 1,000 companies and organizations, including businesses from all sectors of the technology industry, service providers, universities, foreign embassies, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Through its member companies, NVTC represents about 300,000 employees in the region.
The Association of Women in International Trade
Based in Washington, DC, WIIT works to promote the professional development of women in international trade and business and to raise public awareness of the importance of international trade to economic development. WIIT is a volunteer-run organization and the only trade organization in the Washington area that fully integrates its membership in program development and leadership roles.
World Trade Center of Washington
As the official World Trade Center Washington, DC (WTCDC) our global network through the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) connects us to 750,000 affiliated businesses, spanning 330 trade centers, in over 100 countries. Allow us to help expand your reach and make a global impact through trade resources, event promotion, trade consulting and diplomatic engagement. Our team of international trade experts has the resources available to help you advance your knowledge of trade, culture and global commerce.
Virginia International Business Council
Based in Richmond, the Virginia International Business Council is the premier membership organization serving the region’s international trade professionals. Known for outstanding programs and engaging speakers, the club serves as a forum for the promotion of global commerce.
Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council
The RBTC is a member-driven association working to promote the growth of the Roanoke-Blacksburg technology community. We are the essential business resource for technology entrepreneurs and companies seeking to achieve greater success. Our membership ranges from emerging technology firms to the largest employers in the region. The RBTC is building a community that is a catalyst for innovation, inspiration, success, and leadership within the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.
Port of Virginia
In 2019, CNBC ranked Virginia as the #1 state for business, and The Port of Virginia plays a key role in Virginia’s ability to serve those businesses. In a larger sense, The Port of Virginia is doing everything necessary to become the U.S. East Coast’s leading gateway for global trade for the next several decades, and to make Virginia the #1 place for businesses in the country.
Virginia Maritime Association
The Virginia Maritime Association (VMA) was organized in 1920 to promote, protect and encourage international and domestic commerce through Virginia’s Ports. With a membership of over 450 companies, employing over 70,000 Virginians, the Virginia Maritime Association is widely recognized as “The Voice of Port Industries,” the premier business organization to enhance competitiveness and promote commerce through Virginia’s ports.
National District Export Council
The National Association of District Export Councils (NADEC) increases awareness and understanding of the importance of exports to the US economy through education, legislative outreach and engagement with DECs and other relevant stakeholders.
Virginia Manufacturers Association
Our mission is to create the best business environment in the United States for world-class advanced technology businesses to manufacture and headquarter their companies for maximum productivity and profitability. As the only statewide association exclusively dedicated to manufacturers and their allies, the VMA is member-centric and has a professional staff dedicated to legislative and regulatory affairs, workforce development, member services, communications and business services. Virginia’s 5,000+ manufacturers employ over 200,000 individuals, contribute $34 billion to the gross state product, and account for over 80% of the state’s exports to the global economy.