Leahy, Sanders And Welch Announce New Federal Grant To Help Companies Export To World Markets

Vermont Global Trade Partnership and Vermont Chamber of Commerce To Administer $363,768 Small Business Administration Grant Program

(WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28)  – U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday that Vermont has received a $363,768 grant from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help Vermont small businesses reach global markets.

The grant was awarded through the SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP), a $30 million national grant program authorized under President Obama’s Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.  It will be administered by the Vermont Global Trade Partnership, the state’s global business assistance program, in coordination with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 

The Vermont Global Trade Partnership and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce will use the funds to help businesses defray the cost of participation in international trade shows abroad, trade missions and international business matchmaking services.  The organizations plan to target some of the funding to expanding opportunities in global aerospace markets, precision manufacturing, hospitality and tourism.. 

In addition to funding specific project activities, the grant will also support sub grants to offset costs of website foreign language translation fees; design of international marketing media; trade show exhibition expenses; and participation in export and trade finance training workshops for Vermont businesses. 

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said, “This grant will provide businesses with targeted international trade services, increasing exports, increasing the number of tourists from abroad visiting Vermont, and most importantly, growing good-paying jobs here in the state.”

SBA Vermont District Director Darcy Carter said, “This STEP grant will spark the growth of Vermont businesses through exports in targeted industries including precision manufacturing and specialty foods.  Research has shown that businesses which export are more profitable, stay in business longer and are able to pay higher wages.”

Vermont Chamber of Commerce President Betsy Bishop said, "The Vermont Chamber is pleased to partner with the Vermont Global Trade Partnership in helping small businesses in Vermont export their products.  We have been engaged in exporting operations for 15 years with an office and staff in Shanghai, China, where the Vermont Chamber has built extensive relationships.  Through our Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association (VAAA) we have provided opportunities for Vermont manufacturers to contract with large out of state companies and with this grant we expect to expand that work into China and Canada."  

Bishop also added that Leahy's role as the co-chair of the VAAA will be helpful in taking this effort to the global marketplace.  The next VAAA event is on October 6 in Milton and features Supply Chain Opportunities for Canadian Aerospace.  For more information go to www.vtchamber.com . 

Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development Lawrence Miller said, “Projects completed under the STEP Grant will expand Vermont’s economy through increasing trade in goods and services. The grant will connect experienced and new-to-export businesses with technical assistance resources and hands-on opportunities to grow sales and retain and add jobs in Vermont. Vermont now has unprecedented resource capacity to assist businesses in their global market expansion efforts.”

The Vermont Global Trade Partnership is a division of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.  The organization provides market research, technical and grant assistance to Vermont businesses interested in international trade.   The Vermont Global Trade Partnership is funded through state appropriations and is currently using a $400,000 special federal appropriation secured by Senator Patrick Leahy in 2010 to expand international trade opportunities for Vermonters.

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