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World Trade Institute awarded federal export grant

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 15 - December 10, 1998

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and Virginia Tech's World Trade Institute have been awarded a $347,833 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to promote the state's information-technology and communications firms to potential customers in selected foreign markets. A particular emphasis will be on developing new electronic commerce export initiatives with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The grant was one of seven awarded nationally by the Market Development Cooperator Program, a public-private partnership developed to help small- and medium-sized U.S. firms expand exports that support jobs for Americans.
"Clearly, with Virginia Tech's national leadership in the area of information technology, the collaborative effort with the VEDP was a natural," said Joe Adams, economic-development specialist with the World Trade Institute and lead author of the funded proposal. "The primary goal is to produce measurable exports by linking businesses in one of the biggest, hottest, U.S. markets--information technology in Virginia--with the biggest, hottest markets abroad."
Plans call for the VEDP to hire a full-time employee based in Northern Virginia to help technology companies in that region increase their exports. Funds will also be used to help those companies attend major international trade shows.
"This federal grant will help us assist Virginia companies with their total strategic export plan," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. "Virginia has remained a strong force in international trade, and this generous grant will allow us to ramp up our resources to the next level."
More than 50 organizations applied for the $2.2 million in federal grants.
The VEDP is a Richmond-based state authority that promotes Virginia to global businesses considering expansion. The VEDP's Division of International trade Development assists Virginia companies in promoting their products around the world. George Hiller serves as international marketing manager for the partnership and will work closely with representatives from the World Trade Institute to carry out the grant activities.
The World Trade Institute was established earlier this year by Virginia Tech's Public Service Programs, a unit of the university's Outreach Division. Its mission is to provide businesses and municipalities across the state with expertise in export and international trade.
"This grant is another fine example of our long-standing partnership with the VEDP," said Doug McAlister, executive director of the university's Public Service Programs. "We look forward to many more collaborations that will ultimately benefit businesses and industries in Virginia."