Virginia’s VITAL Signs

A new global business focus is quickening the pulse and changing the face of Virginia’s economy.


Population (2006): 7,642,884

Largest Cities (2006): Virginia Beach, 435,619; Norfolk, 229,112; Chesapeake, 220,560; Arlington, 199,776; Richmond, 192,913

Targeted Industries: Advanced manufacturing, services and security, biotechnology, nanotechnology, R&D, energy, transportation

Key Incentives: Governor’s Opportunity Fund, Virginia Jobs Investment Program, Virginia Investment Partnership Grant Fund, Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant, Recovery Tax Credit

Launched in 2007, the Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL) is a collaboration of more than 60 companies across the state that aims to promote and advance international trade and investment. More specifically, VITAL initiatives include establishing a referral network for international inquiries;

creating a consortium of private-sector service providers to assist foreign companies interested in establishing a presence in Virginia; developing an online service exporters directory; and selecting a slogan for use in marketing Virginia globally. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Port Authority will support VITAL’s efforts by providing staff assistance.

VITAL participants will serve as a central point for the development of a coordinated international marketing strategy, and will form task forces focused on key areas, such as branding Virginia, emerging markets, foreign-owned companies, global logistics, and building stronger relations with the emerging markets of China and India.

VITAL is already showing signs of life. In November, London-based Rolls-Royce announced it will build a state-of-the-art aeroengine facility in Prince George County, VA. Initially, the company will invest $100 million to establish an assembly and test facility for its civil aerospace operations. Over time, the company has options to invest up to $500 million to support future advanced manufacturing. The projects will create 500 new jobs. Virginia successfully competed against Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as locations overseas.

“Rolls-Royce’s investment is transformational,” says Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine. “The company, which operates in four global markets, will bring international focus to our state’s aerospace industry.”