Virginia Defense Companies Diversify With Going Global Initiative

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

With defense spending cuts taking effect across the nation, the Commonwealth of Virginia has launched the $2 million statewide ‘Going Global’ initiative, a first-of-its-kind program developed to help Virginia-based defense contractors capture international export opportunities.

Shortly after the program’s start, nearly 80 defense-related companies have committed to taking their products and services abroad—accounting for nearly 50 percent of the total program.

“For small to medium-sized defense contractors, going global can be a daunting task,” said Martin Briley, President and CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the state authority spearheading the program. “Virginia’s defense companies can rely on the ‘Going Global’ initiative to provide the time, resources and deep expertise necessary to gain a stronger foothold in international markets.”

Home to more than 5,000 defense companies, Virginia’s defense sector represents almost 10 percent of the state’s economy. The program aims to mitigate the impact of sequestration on Virginia’s economy by strengthening international sales for hundreds of Virginia-based companies through assistance in market research, export compliance, digital marketing, international certification and global trade missions.

‘Going Global’ is modeled after Virginia’s award-winning International Trade program, which has been known to increase participants’ international sales by an average of 54 percent. By enabling Virginia’s defense companies with the tools necessary to go abroad, VEDP believes ‘Going Global’ participants will also become more competitive within the domestic arena.

“The fact that such a large number of defense companies have decided to go global within the first 30 days of this program is a testament to its significance and necessity,” Briley adds. “The ‘Going Global’ initiative stands as a national model for other defense communities facing the threat of budget cuts.”