Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency, announced this week a new trade grant program to help the state’s small and medium-sized companies continue doing business overseas even as international travel is greatly restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virtual Business Matchmaking program will allow the state’s business community to reach new and existing customers overseas and keep moving forward.
Virtual Business Matchmaking will include virtual introductions via teleconference or videoconference of up to five interested agents, distributors, or partners in various given target markets who have been pre-screened and pre-qualified. Enterprise Florida’s trade grant will cover the full cost of the matchmaking on a reimbursable basis, making the service free.
“As small and medium-sized companies in Florida begin to re-open and recover from the impacts of COVID-19, EFI is excited to expand our international trade and development programs by offering a grant for Virtual Business Matchmaking,” said Jamal Sowell, Florida Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. “This grant will allow Florida businesses the opportunity to engage in new markets while international travel restrictions remain in place.”
Florida companies have two options to choose from, depending on the market of interest:
- Virtual Business Matchmakingwill be provided by EFI’s international representatives in Europe through the Virtual Export Concierge Service. This service is currently offered in the markets of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, with markets in other world regions to be added soon. In each market or region, EFI’s international offices will connect Florida companies with five pre-qualified partners/distributors through teleconference or videoconference.
- Similar services will be offered in additional markets through EFI’s partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service and their International Partner Search Plus Virtual Introductions.The U.S. Commercial Service program includes virtual introductions with up to five pre-qualified contacts, with options for additional introductions.
As the world’s principal commercial gateway to Latin American & the Caribbean, Florida is a global trade hub. Goods valued at $153.6 billion flowed through Florida’s airports and seaports in 2019. The state is also a major producer of high-value products for the aviation, telecommunications, and medical devices sectors, and is the 7th largest export state in the U.S. with Florida-origin exports of $56 billion.
Businesses interested in learning more about the new Virtual Business Matchmaking service or the trade grant, please contact one of Enterprise Florida’s Regional Trade Managers.