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Small Business Survey Aimed at Upping Exports

The V.I. Economic Development Authority will soon be surveying small V.I. businesses about exports with an eye toward helping them export their products and services, according to EDA officials.

This small business export initiative is made possible through a State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The STEP Grant program is a three-year pilot program trade initiative designed to help small businesses grow, increase their exporting activities and raise the value of the products and services of small business exporters.

Statistics show small V.I. businesses account for just one percent of the territory’s export trade and most of these exported products go to the U.S. markets, according to a statement from Government House.

There is a need to help local small businesses increase their sales and grow their business through exporting, Gov. John deJongh Jr. said in a statement from Government House. "The STEP grant can help our territory introduce foreign buyers to some of the most unique products and services our small businesses can offer in the global marketplace," deJongh said.

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The VIEDA is the agency designated to manage the STEP program in the territory and it will use local government, federal government and the private sector to help local small businesses so they can export their products and services, according to Government House.

"The VIEDA, along with the deJongh/Francis Administration and the SBA, continues to seek and accept opportunities to help our small businesses both locally and abroad," EDA CEO Percival Clouden said in the statement. "And although the U.S. market is a key contributor to small business growth, we embrace the fact that foreign markets are an essential part of small business success in our global economy as well," he said.

The USVI Export Survey forms can be picked up in both districts at:

the VIEDA’s Lending Division (the Small Business Development Agency and the Government Development Bank);

The V.I. Small Business Administration;

University of the Virgin Islands’ Extension Services;

Small Business Development Center;

St. Thomas-St. John and St. Croix Chambers of Commerce;

Office of the Lt. Governor’s Division of Banking and Insurance;

Dept. of Licensing and Consumer Affairs;

and the Dept. of Agriculture.

Survey forms are also available online at www.usvieda.org.
The VIEDA asks local small businesses to complete the one-page survey form which can be hand-delivered to the VIEDA’s office in St. Thomas located at No. 5055 Norre Gade next to the Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church, or at No. 116 King St. in Frederiksted, St. Croix.

The completed survey can also be sent by fax to 777-8399 or via e-mail to exportvi@usvieda.org. The deadline to submit the survey, along with a copy of the respondent’s business license, to the VIEDA is Nov. 21, 2011.

For questions about the USVI Export Survey for small businesses, contact 774-8104, ext. 256.

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