Program continues to support international expansion of Virginia companies



(The Center Square) — Eleven companies graduated, and 13 joined Virginia Leaders in Export Trade on Thursday, a two-year Virginia Economic Development Partnership program representing 12 counties and eight independent cities across the commonwealth.

Only 25 companies are accepted into the VALET program each year, and 375 have graduated since it was established in the late 90s. Candidate organizations must demonstrate “firmly established domestic operations” and “[commitment] to international exporting as a growth strategy” to be accepted into the program, according to a press release from VEDP.

“This award-winning program is a tremendous asset to the Commonwealth’s economic development tool kit and provides long-term benefits to the new and graduating companies,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick.

VALET companies represent many localities across the state, and they represent many wide-ranging industries, as well.

Former program graduate and packaged food manufacturer Sauer Brands, Inc. sought to export expertise from the state in 2012 when it wanted to take its mayonnaise to other international markets.

“I wanted to learn the craft of exporting, and VALET was the perfect program to help me learn,” said Sauer’s Rob Davenport, then-sales manager for business development. “It was essentially two years of intense schooling on the export industry.”

When the VEDP wrote about Sauer’s case study, the company’s annual international sales were 25-30% of total company sales, with distribution to 27 countries, and Davenport reported that the company ultimately saw a 125% increase in international sales from the work it had done with VALET.

The VALET program produces “an average increase in international sales of 59% for participating companies” by providing capital resources, executive training, international sales plan development and international market research, including identifying potential distributors and representatives for products and services, according to VEDP’s website.

Virginia exported $18.4 billion worth of goods in 2018, which accounted for 3.4% of Virginia’s GDP that year, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. VEDP says the commonwealth “exports over $51 billion in goods and services annually… supporting more than 257,000 jobs and generating $2 billion in annual tax revenue.”

“International trade is a key component of advancing economic growth and prosperity in Virginia, and the VALET program is a vehicle that provides the tools and resources for our existing businesses to expand into the global marketplace,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin.



Share post:


More like this

Spokane City Council okays licensing inspections of massage businesses

(The Center Square) – Spokane City Council members on...

New tax bill clears the state House

(The Center Square) – An expansive tax proposal narrowly...

Auditors question $180M of nearly $1B in state program costs

(The Center Square) – The Louisiana auditor says more...

Despite pending legal action, Illinois opens registry for gun ban law

(The Center Square) – Despite legal challenges pending over...