As we celebrate the holidays and look forward to what 2022 will bring, we just want to take a moment to thank West Virginia’s exporters and celebrate some of the business successes of the last year.
Investing In Virtual
Thanks to the ubiquity of virtual meetings, traveling halfway around the world to visit a customer is no longer a requirement to close a deal. Staying connected to distributors and agents through email and phone calls can be challenging, but virtual meetings provide the space you need for more personal connections and better dialogue.
Companies like Industrial Bolting Technologies in Charleston and Preiser Scientific in St. Albans are innovating in this space. These two companies created dedicated video conferencing space to conduct installations, technical training and product demos, as well as distributor interviews and sales calls.
While virtual meetings will never completely replace face-to-face meetings, they can help your business maintain personal relationships with clients and customers. To help with that, we are helping exporters overcome language barriers on virtual calls through a multilingual video conferencing platform called KUDO. In the coming year as you continue conducting international business virtually, consider breaking through language barriers and taking advantage of this platform.
Virtual Trade Missions Prove Successful for WV Exporters
Conducting meetings in a virtual format allowed us to serve you better in 2021. We organized our first virtual trade mission to the Middle East and North Africa and helped connect nine West Virginia companies with interested companies in the region. Because participants never had to leave their desks, we were able to help these companies save time and money. The virtual trade mission was so successful that we have plans for more virtual events in 2022. Stay tuned for updates!
Celebrating 27 WV Exporters
We also virtually hosted our Governor’s Export Awards Ceremony in 2021. During the ceremony, we recognized 27 West Virginia companies for making their first sale to a new country in 2020, which is quite a feat in a pandemic. By hosting the ceremony virtually, award winners from the furthest corners of the state had a chance to participate. We only wish we could find a way to provide virtual catering so we could resume our accompanying awards luncheon!
WV Exporters Use STEP Funds For Website Development
In 2021, we also saw a significant surge in applications to use STEP funding for website development. We awarded 11 West Virginia companies over $50,000 in grant funding to support their website development activities targeting international customers and that has already generated more than $57,000 in sales.
As the world opens back up and more business is being conducted in person, we are seeing more businesses apply for STEP funds for travel and trade show participation. In 2021, we received 13 applications to use STEP funds for in-person events and we are already receiving some for 2022. We are excited to see this trend continue.
Looking Ahead to Export Success in 2022
If you experienced export success in 2021 by adding new distributors and international clients or if you’re new to exporting and decided 2021 was the year to go global, we applaud you for staying strong and can’t wait to help support you in 2022. We wish you a safe and Happy Holidays and a prosperous new year!