Export Promotion Guidelines

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, 2018 – September 29, 2020.


Eligible Reimbursements

Eligible export activities under the Export Promotion Reimbursement Program include:

  • 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 North, Central and South America, India, and more! Click here for details.
  • Individual Foreign Market Visits
    Subscriptions and travel expenses for international sales trips scheduled directly by the applicant organization, participation in export trade events and international trade shows organized by reputable organizations, and international sales trips scheduled through the U.S. Commercial Service.
  • Website Fees
    Translation of websites into foreign languages, website localization services and search engine optimization. Reimbursements limited to $3,000 per business per funding period.
  • Fee-based Export Services offered by the U.S. Commercial Service
    Click here for more information.
  • Compliance Testing
    If required for an existing product to enter a new market. Reimbursements limited to $3,000 per business per funding period.
  • 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. Domestic trade show criteria applies. Read about it here.
  • Shipping Expenses
    For shipping samples, marketing materials and exhibiting displays. Limited to $2,000 per business per funding period.
  • Design of Marketing Media
    For brochures, social media platforms, websites, billboards, newspapers, branding and advertising, posters and advertisements in international magazines. Limited to $3,000 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 be approved prior to the commencement of the proposed export activity.

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, 2020.



Small Business Eligibility Criteria

An eligible small business must meet the following criteria in order to be considered to receive a Market Finder 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 one (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 West Virginia State Department of Tax and Revenue
  9. Agrees to complete one post-event survey, and one program closeout survey during the first year, and a yearly performance survey for the next two years


Thriving Industries

Stay Current!

Our newsletter is free and packed with vital information about the state of West Virginia and its evolving incentives.