• Strategic Advantages
  • Key Industries
  • Business Assistance
  • Global Engagement
    • Global Engagement

      West Virginia is home to more than 130 businesses representing 27 countries from around the world, and West Virginia businesses export goods and services to more than 95 countries. Learn how our international team works out of three worldwide office to foster global engagement.

  • Sites & Buildings
    • Sites & Buildings

      West Virginia has a number of diverse site and building opportunities. One of our most exciting opportunities is Rock Creek Development Park, offering 12,000 acres of flat, developable land in southern West Virginia. Explore Rock Creek Development Park and our site selection tool that lets you take the first steps to finding a new location in West Virginia.

  • EXCEL WV 
  • WVForward
  • News 
  • Close

Program Guidelines

Funding period

October 1, 2017- September 29, 2018

Application Process

  • Apply online for the different West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Programs

  • Applications will be accepted for qualifying events taking place between October 1, 2017 and September 29, 2018.

  • Only expenses incurred during October 1, 2017 to September 29, 2018 are valid for reimbursement.

  • Preferably, applications must be submitted at least 3 weeks in advance of commencement of the proposed export activity.

  • Applications for reimbursements must be pre-approved prior to commencement of the proposed export activity.

  • Expenses related to certain proposed export activities, such as trade events and international sales trips incurred before the execution of the event may be added to the initial application for consideration. For example, airfare cost, registration fees and other necessary expenses to prepare for the execution of the event.

  • Fees to secure exhibiting space paid up to a year prior to the start of the funding period will be accepted.

  • Applications will be reviewed by the Export Promotion Program of the West Virginia Development Office. A notice of decision will be sent by email within 1-3 weeks.

  • Application submittal does not guarantee a reimbursement award.

  • Funds will be administered on a first come, first serve basis, based on available funds and the quality of the applications.

  • Reimbursements may be approved for a lesser amount than requested in the application, based on the strength of the application and number of applicants.

  • The terms and conditions of the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Program are subject to change without notice.

Domestic Trade Show Criteria

  1. Proposed domestic trade show is included in the 2018 Trade Show Schedule of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program, which brings foreign buyer delegations to the trade show.

  2. For other domestic trade shows, applicants must submit a short statement outlining their company strategy to achieve export sales at the trade show for review. If approved, applicants must provide a list of matchmaking activities completed, if any, and a list of international leads contacted during the trade show.

Travel Criteria

All travel expenses are limited to two people directly employed with the organization under the Export Promotion Reimbursement Program. Lodging and per diem for meals and incidentals rates must not exceed the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. General Service Administration guidelines for every visited city. The reimbursable 50% is calculated at these federal rates.

Meals and Incidentals per diems are calculated at 75% for the first and last days of travel. The city of location at 12 am determines the previous day’s per diem. If on a plane, the city of destination must be used.

Foreign per diem rates: https://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp

Domestic per diem rates: https://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877

Local travel costs (50 mile radius) are not eligible for reimbursement. Hotel and per diems can include up to 2 days before and 1 day after the trade activity based on a detailed business itinerary or justification for the number of days. The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Program reserves the right to limit the number of days it allows for reimbursement regardless of the amount requested by the applicant.

Cost for hosting and entertaining may not be included.

Alcoholic beverages are not eligible for reimbursement.

Airfare reimbursements are limited to economy class in accordance with the Fly America Act. If upgrading seating class, documentation from booking source must be presented showing the price of economy class on the same flight on the date of purchase, and economy class price will be reimbursed. Airfares purchased with frequent flyer miles are ineligible expenses.

Fly America Act - Applicants are responsible for reviewing these guidelines. Generally, flights should be booked using a U.S. carrier for the overseas portion of the flight. Once overseas, other airlines can be used for regional travel.

Ground transportation claims must be accompanied by a receipt or proof of travel.

Note: The International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement Program allows travel expenses for up to 4 people directly employed by the organization, or authorized representatives. In addition, travel will not be subject to the U.S. Department of State and U.S. General Service Administration Guidelines, or the Fly America Act.

Funding Approval

The Export Promotion Program of the West Virginia Development Office will notify the applicants if they have been approved for funding via email within 1-3 weeks of application submittal. In order to receive reimbursement, applicants must:

Respond in acceptance to funding approval notification.

Follow up on any additional required paperwork.

Execute the approved activity and incur in qualifying expenses.

Present all the necessary expense reimbursement supporting documentation will be considered for reimbursement. Expenses not included in the initial approved application will be considered for reimbursement if maximum allowable reimbursement has not been exceeded.

Meal reimbursements will be calculated using the U.S. Department of State meals and incidentals per diem rates. Instead of submitting meals receipts to claim reimbursement, applicants must submit a copy of the corresponding per diem rate.

In order to process an expense reimbursement claim, the following required documents must be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. within 30 days following the approved activity.

Expense Reimbursement Required Documents

  1. Expense Statement Letter – A document on company letterhead listing each expense and the total reimbursable amount. For example:

    Expense Description Identifier Number
    (please write this number on
    all documents supporting this
    expense)
    Itemized receipt Proof of Payment Type Expense Amount
    Gold Key Service
    Subscription
    #1 Invoice Copy of Payment
    Confirmation/bank statement
    $700
    Air-fare #2 Travel itinerary Travel itinerary showing
    zero credit card charge
    $1,500
          Total Expenses $2,200


  2. Expense Documentation – Payment confirmation or invoice showing detailed information with a zero balance must be presented for each expense being claimed for reimbursement. Invoices or bills not showing zero balance or marked “paid” must be accompanied by proof of payment such as credit card or banking statement. Submission of additional documentation supporting the activities is required if not clearly stated on the presented proof of payment documents, such as copy of business itinerary or participation agreements, copy of translated marketing materials, link to translated websites, booth photos, etc.

    Payments made in foreign currency must be converted into U.S. dollars based on the conversion rate on the date payment was made, per rates of Exchangerate.com, unless documentation shows the exchange rate used for the transaction.

    Additional expense supporting documentation may be requested if necessary.

  3. Post-event survey – A post-event survey provided via email by The Export Promotion Program of the West Virginia Development Office must be completed in order for reimbursements to be finalized.

Payments

In order to receive payment and/or reimbursement under the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Programs you must complete, sign in blue ink, and mail a W9 Government Form. Unfortunately, this form cannot be electronically submitted.

The name and address on the form will be used for all future payments, and must appear the same on all documentation submitted under the Grant.

You may mail your original form to:
Enybe Diaz
WVDO First Step-Next Step
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Bldg. 6 Room 531
Charleston, WV 25305

Once all the required expense required documentation has been presented and approved sufficient by the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Program, applicants will be sent payment by check within approximately 30 days, assuming all other criteria have been met.

Only expenses incurred during October 1, 2017, to September 29, 2018 are valid for reimbursements.

Cash match responsibilities cannot come from another federal government source.

The maximum award per funding period is $10,000 per STEP client limited to three export projects whichever comes first. For STEP clients participating in the International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement program and/or The WV Trade Show Pavilions the maximum award is $15,000 limited to three export projects, whichever comes first.

Performance Surveys

Recipients of the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Program are required to answer a post-event survey, quarterly surveys during the first year, and two long term surveys the next two years following the approved export promotion activity, to report any derived sales results. All information provided will be kept confidential and reported only in aggregate form.





West Virginia Trade Show Pavilions

The 2018 West Virginia Pavilions will be funded in part by the WV First STEP-Next STEP program. West Virginia Trade Show Pavilions offer small businesses the opportunity to exhibit at quality international trade shows for a fraction of the cost and with very little legwork required.

  1. China International Petroleum & Petrochemical Technology and Equipment Exhibition (CIPPE) - March 27-29, 2018, in Beijing, China
  2. MiningWorld Moscow - April 17-19, 2018, in Moscow, Russia
  3. American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference - June 21-23, 2018, in New York City, USA
  4. International Mining and Machinery Exhibition (IMME) - October 31- November 3, 2018, in Kolkata, India

Application

For each or the 2018 West Virginia Trade Show Pavilion, four or more small businesses with a qualifying product or service will be selected to participate.

Applications must be approved prior to the commencement of the selected trade show.

Applicants must demonstrate that exhibiting at the selected trade show will support a new international market entry or a new market expansion project such as a new product launch, selling to new geographical area within a country, or catering to a new industry sector.

Preference will be given to applicants with prior domestic or international trade show experience.

Expectations from selected participants:

  • A shared space within the selected pavilion will be awarded to selected participants. Participants are expected to provide company graphics, such as company logo and pictures in high resolution, as well as other requested company information to the West Virginia First-STEP Next-STEP team.
  • Participating business must staff their booth space with direct employees or authorized company representatives.
  • Associated travel expenses will be considered the participating company’s contribution to this funding program and will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Funding Period

The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period is October 1, 2017, through September 29, 2018.

Eligibility criteria:
Eligible small businesses must meet the following criteria in order to be considered to participate in the West Virginia Trade Show Pavilion.

  • Is organized or incorporated in the United States
  • Has a physical address located in West Virginia
  • Complies with The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards
  • Has been in business for no less than 1 year
  • Has access to sufficient resources to bear the cost associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.
  • Has a finished product or qualifying service with at least 51% U.S. content
  • Is not barred from receiving federal funds
  • Is in good standing with the WV State Department of Tax and Revenue
  • Agrees to complete one post-event survey, four quarterly performance surveys during the first year, and a yearly performance survey for the next two years





Export Promotion Reimbursement

Export Promotion Reimbursements will be awarded to eligible small businesses to offset some of the costs of developing new export expansion projects. Small businesses with products and services selling successfully in the U.S. are encouraged to participate in our qualified export promotion activities and apply for export promotion reimbursements. This includes businesses that have never exported their products, businesses that have exported on a limited basis, or more experienced exporters seeking to continue to expand to new international markets.

For each qualifying export promotion activity, small businesses may apply to obtain 50% of eligible associated expenses. The Export Promotion Reimbursement minimum amount is $1,000, and the maximum amount is $5,000. The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period is October 1, 2017, through September 29, 2018.
 

Eligible export activities under the Export Promotion Reimbursement Program include:

  1. Trade Missions and Trade Shows sponsored by the West Virginia Development Office
    Subscriptions and travel expenses to participate in West Virginia trade missions. Look into our upcoming events to South Europe/North Africa, The Caribbean, and more! Click here for details.
  2. Individual Foreign Market Visits
    Subscriptions and travel expenses for international sales trips scheduled directly by the applicant organization, participation in export trade events and conferences organized by reputable organizations, and international sales trips scheduled through the U.S. Commercial Service.
  3. Design of Marketing Media
    Including creation and development of websites, landing pages in foreign languages, website translations, website localization services, search engine optimization, Google AdWords, and marketing materials translations and printing. Reimbursements limited to $3,000 per business per funding period.
  4. Fee-based Export Services offered by the U.S. Commercial Service
    Click here for more information.
  5. Compliance Testing
    If required for an existing product to enter a new market. Reimbursements limited to $2,000 per business per funding period.
  6. Domestic Trade Shows and Conferences
    Limited to the 2018 Trade Show Schedule of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program and domestic trade shows found appropriate for export development. Special rulings apply.
  7. Shipping Expenses
    For shipping samples, marketing materials and exhibiting displays. Limited to $2,000 per business per funding period.

Eligible travel expenses:

  • Economy-class airfare in accordance with the Fly America Act – Flights must be booked through U.S. carriers. Cabin and seating upgrades are not eligible for reimbursement. If upgrading, applicants must turn in main cabin pricing for the same travel itinerary on the same date of purchase.
  • Lodging and meals – Maximum rates are limited to U.S. Department of State Guidelines.
  • Ground transportation – Including taxis, train tickets, Uber, car rental, mileage, airport parking, private drivers.
  • Baggage fees
  • Interpretation services
  • Currency exchange fees

IMPORTANT- Reimbursements are limited to two (2) travelers directly employed by the applicant organization per qualifying export promotion activity.

Expenses not eligible:

  • Passport or visa fees
  • Immunizations
  • Expenses related to entertaining current or prospective clients or government officials
  • New product development or alteration of existing products
  • Cellphones and cellphone charges

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed export activity will support a new international market entry or a new market expansion project such as a new product launch, selling to a new geographical area within a country, or catering to a new industry sector. Qualifying export activities must be completed by September 29, 2018.

Eligible small businesses must meet the following criteria in order to be considered to receive an Export Promotion Reimbursement.

  1. Is organized or incorporated in the United States
  2. Has a physical address located in West Virginia
  3. Complies with The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards
  4. Has been in business for no less than 1 year
  5. Has access to sufficient resources to bear the cost associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.
  6. Has a finished product or qualifying service with at least 51% U.S. content
  7. Is not barred from receiving federal funds
  8. Is in good standing with the WV State Department of Tax and Revenue
  9. Agrees to complete one post-event survey, four quarterly performance surveys during the first year, and a yearly performance survey for the next two years






International Trade Exhibition Reimbursements

International Trade Exhibition Reimbursements will be awarded to exporters seeking to tap new global markets through international trade show exhibitions of choice.

Apply to this program if you expect to spend at least $5,000 to exhibit in a qualifying trade show.

 

Qualifying trade shows include:

  • Quality trade shows in foreign countries
  • Quality domestic trade shows with strong international attendance
 

Domestic trade shows criteria:

  • Proposed domestic trade show is included in the 2018 Trade Show Schedule of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program, which brings foreign buyer delegations to the trade show.
  • For other domestic trade shows, applicants must submit a short statement outlining their company strategy to achieve export sales at the trade show for review. If approved, applicants must provide a list of matchmaking activities completed, if any, and a list of international leads contacted during the trade show.

This program requires recipients to match 75% of every awarded dollar. This means companies must plan to spend an additional 75 cents for every requested dollar.
The maximum award per International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement is $10,000, which requires $7,500 in recipient cash match. The minimum required award for this program is $5,000, which requires $3,750 in recipient cash match.

 

Qualifying expenses:

  • Booth space rental
  • Booth design and construction
  • Booth marketing materials (souvenirs/product give aways are not eligible)
  • Furniture rental
  • Booth services at the trade show
  • Registration fees
  • Design of marketing media – Including creation of websites, landing pages in foreign languages, website translations, website localization services, search engine optimization, Google AdWords, and marketing materials translations and printing. Reimbursements limited to $3,000. Remaining balance can be accepted as part of the recipient cash match calculation.
  • Fee-based export services offered by the U.S. Commercial Service – Click here for more information.
  • Shipping expenses – For shipping samples, marketing materials and exhibiting displays. Reimbursement limited to $2,000. Remaining balance can be accepted as part of the recipient cash match calculation.
  • Travel expensesTravel expenses are not reimbursable under this program, but they can be accepted as part of the recipient cash match calculation. Travel expenses are limited to four (4) authorized company representatives. Airfare is not subject to the Fly America Act. Lodging and per diems are not subject to the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. General Service Administration guidelines.
     

Application

Applications must be approved prior to the commencement of the selected trade show.

Applicants must demonstrate that exhibiting at the selected trade show will support a new international market entry or a new market expansion project such as a new product launch, selling to new geographical area within a country, or catering to a new industry sector.

Preference will be given to applicants with prior domestic or international trade show experience. Applications including business to business appointments with potential customers at the show will be considered stronger.

Exhibiting booths must be staffed by direct employees or authorized company representatives.

Qualifying small businesses are eligible for only one International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement during the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Program funding period.

Funding Period

The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period is October 1, 2017, through September 29, 2018.

Proposed trade shows must take place during the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period in order to be considered.

Expenses must be incurred during the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP funding period to be valid for reimbursement. Exception: fees to secure exhibiting space can be paid up to a year prior to the start of the funding period.

Qualifying expenses will be reimbursed upon completion of trade show and submission of proof of payment and expense receipts.

Eligibility criteria

Eligible small businesses must meet the following criteria in order to be considered to receive an International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement.

  • Is organized or incorporated in the United States
  • Has a physical address located in West Virginia
  • Complies with The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards
  • Has been in business for no less than 1 year
  • Has access to sufficient resources to bear the cost associated with trade, including the costs of packing, shipping, freight forwarding, and customs brokers.
  • Has a finished product or qualifying service with at least 51% U.S. content
  • Is not barred from receiving federal funds
  • Is in good standing with the WV State Department of Tax and Revenue
  • Agrees to complete one post-event survey, four quarterly performance surveys during the first year, and a yearly performance survey for the next two years





First STEP-Next STEP Export Assistance Program 2017-2018

West Virginia was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to receive $200,000 from the agency’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to support the third edition of the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP.

The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP provides funding to West Virginia small businesses looking to enter (first step) or expand (next step) in the global marketplace. Benefits from exporting include faster sales growth, job creation, continuous innovation and risk mitigation against economic downturns.

Any small business in West Virginia, regardless of their level of export development experience, is invited to learn more about the West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Program. A variety of activities and resources are available to help small businesses successfully market their products according to their own export expansion objectives.

The West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP program is available from October 1, 2017, through September 29, 2018.

For additional information, please contact Enybe Diaz, (304) 957-2018, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

West Virginia First STEP-Next STEP Programs

Dear West Virginia small business, we’re so glad you are here. There are three different funding programs available to you under this Grant. You are welcome to receive funding three times during the current funding period which starts October 1, 2017, through September 29, 2018. Applications must be approved prior to commencement of the proposed export activity and expenses must be incurred during the funding period to be eligible for reimbursement. We invite you to explore your options below and look forward to working with you.

 

Program 1
Export Promotion Program

Consider this program if your proposed project consists of foreign travel, translations, website development, participation in trade events, etc.

 

Program 2
International Trade Exhibition Program

Consider this program if your proposed project is a trade show where your estimated booth related expenses are $5,000 or more. This program mainly supports trade shows in other countries, but trade shows in the U.S. may qualify if they have a strong international attendance.

 

Program 3
West Virginia Trade Show Pavilions

Consider this program if you sell to any of the following sectors: oil & gas/petrochemical, architects & construction designers, mining. West Virginia Trade Show Pavilions are beautifully designed to fit a few businesses in the same booth. You provide us with your company logo and graphics and our team of talented designers does the rest.

  1. China International Petroleum & Petrochemical Technology and Equipment Exhibition (CIPPE)- March 27-29, 2018, in Beijing, China
  2. MiningWorld Moscow- April 17-19, 2018, in Moscow, Russia
  3. American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference- June 21-23, 2018, in New York City, USA
  4. International Mining and Machinery Exhibition (IMME)- October 31- November 3, 2018, in Kolkata, India

The maximum award per funding period is $10,000 per STEP client limited to three export projects, whichever comes first. For STEP clients participating in the International Trade Exhibition Reimbursement program and/or The WV Trade Show Pavilions the maximum award is $15,000 limited to three export projects, whichever comes first.

 


Funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration





Contact for Media:

Chelsea A. Ruby
Director of Marketing and Communications
West Virginia Department of Commerce
304-957-9364