Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Friday, September 11, 2015

Governor McAuliffe Announces U.S. SBA Grant to Support Virginia’s International Trade Program

~ Program increases exports for Virginia’s small businesses ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia has received $578,500 in grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program.  The STEP grant is designed to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting. 

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “International trade is a key part of my plan to create private sector jobs and build a new Virginia economy that is less reliant on the federal government.  By providing resources and services to increase international trade, we help Virginia businesses find new customers around the world and, in turn, create new jobs for VirginiansWe are pleased to continue this effective partnership with our federal partners to provide assistance to even more of Virginia’s small businesses.”

“In 2014, more than 86 percent of Virginia’s exporting companies were small and medium-sized companies with fewer than 500 employees. These firms generated more than 28% of Virginia’s total products exported,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “Helping Virginia small businesses sell their products and services abroad is one of our most effective business expansion strategies.”

The STEP Grant will generate international sales for Virginia’s small businesses by providing the following international trade promotion services for eligible small businesses:

·         Opportunities to participate in international trade shows
·         Face-to-face meetings with potential customers and partners by travelling to international markets
·         Website translation, search engine optimization and localization
·         Advertising and translation services

Receipt of this federal grant was made possible by Governor McAuliffe’s $1.0 million funding of the Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL), which was announced in July 2015.  To date, two federal grants totaling over $2.4 million have been awarded to Virginia to increase international trade.   VITAL’s goals are to increase Virginia’s exports by $1.6 billion and to create 14,000 trade-supported jobs over the next 5 years. The SBA grant will be administered by the International Trade Division of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Governor McAuliffe Announces Decrease in Virginia Unemployment Rate

RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe announced today that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point in July to 4.8 percent. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains below the national rate, which was unchanged in July at 5.3 percent.

The average weekly wage for private employers was $905.58 in July, 4.6 percent above a year ago.

“We are seeing tangible results from our work to build a new Virginia economy in communities across the Commonwealth by attracting new, high-growth industries and fostering growth in the existing businesses that represent our employment base,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The new jobs numbers demonstrate enhanced income security for Virginia's workers while offering the opportunity of lower costs for employers doing business in Virginia. We still have much work to do, and I remain committed to providing pathways to prosperity for all Virginia families and businesses.”

“This is more good news for Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “Year over year employment is up, wages are up, and unemployment is down.  When the public and private sectors work well together as a team, we can accomplish what is necessary to continue our economic growth.”

From July of 2014 to July of 2015, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 40,700 jobs. Over-the-year, employment grew 1.1 percent, the sixteenth consecutive month of positive over-the-year growth. Over-the-year July job gains were recorded by both the private sector, which grew by 38,500 jobs, and the public sector, which grew by 2,200 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, 10 of the 11 major industry divisions experienced employment gains.

As employment grew faster than expected in the last year, unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments decreased and UI revenues increased.   This produced an improved forecast solvency level for Virginia’s UI Trust Fund this year, which will likely eliminate the fund-building surtax in 2016, a year earlier than previously projected.  The fund-building surtax, which costs employers $16 per employee, has been in effect since 2010.

For a greater statistical break down visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Work Readiness Modules Offered Through SkillsOnline

~ Modules to help workers get training to succeed in 21st century Virginia economy~ 

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the public launch of the new work readiness modules offered through SkillsOnline at a meeting hosted by the Peninsula Council for Workforce Development. Working with subject matter experts, WHRO is using instructional and online course development expertise to create the first five of 21 work readiness courses identified by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service as those needed by employees for career entry and advancement.  They include: (1) Applied Mathematics, (2) Reading for Information, (3) Locating Information, (4) Internet Use and Safety-Digital Citizenship, and (5) Understanding Health, Wellness and Safety.  These courses will be available through SkillsOnline and other venues free of charge by spring of 2015. These modules are partially funded by grants from the Hampton Roads’ Community Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the American Graduate program. Additional funding is being sought from foundations and other private sources to produce the remaining courses and collateral materials.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Workforce development is a key component for creating a new Virginia economy.  The work readiness modules are an example of the public-private partnership that is increasing access for Virginians to workforce training, will help employers put more Virginians to work, and will provide no-cost resources for educators and local government training providers.”

WHRO intends to make these career readiness modules freely available to every Workforce Investment Board, social services agency, K-12 school, community college, and employer in the Commonwealth to use in an instructor-led blended learning environment. Additionally, course content will be distributed through eMediaVa(SM), which WHRO operates through a contract with the Virginia Department of Education and serves more than 145,000 Virginia teachers in public, private and home schools across the state.

“Talent development is critical for catalyzing economic growth in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “WHRO’s career readiness modules are an important tool for students of all ages to get access to the skills they need to succeed in careers of the 21st century.”

In partnership with four southeastern Virginia community colleges, including Thomas Nelson Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, Eastern Shore Community College and Rappahannock Community College, the work readiness modules will be offered primarily through the new SkillsOnline portal created by WHRO. SkillsOnline is WHRO’s new professional development and workforce training portal that offers nearly 3,500 courses that are affordably priced in 19 different industry categories. 

“WHRO Public Media is experienced in creating engaging online learning courses currently used by pre-K to grade 12 teachers and students across Virginia for free, funded by the Virginia Department of Education,” said Bert Schmidt, President and CEO of WHRO. “We are a non-profit organization owned by the 19 school divisions of southeastern Virginia and use our broadcast and production facilities to create engaging modules which capture and hold the attention of today’s online media savvy students.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Virginia Economy Bioscience Initiative

~ Kicks off roundtable on commercialization of university bioscience research with special guest, MIT Professor Robert Langer ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a Virginia Bioscience Initiative, kicking off the effort with a public and private sector roundtable discussion on the commercialization of university bioscience research at the State Capitol.  University representatives and bio industry leaders joined the Governor, members of his administration and renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Dr. Robert S. Langer for this discussion.
Speaking at today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe stated, “The bioscience industry in Virginia is strong, and can be even stronger with this focused initiative.  Our charge today is to use the Commonwealth’s extensive assets, including our excellent research universities and world class businesses, to catalyze the growth of this strategic sector and the new Virginia economy.”
Governor McAuliffe’s initiative will be a collaborative, multi-year effort involving several secretariats, state agencies, higher education, private sector research enterprises and businesses throughout the Commonwealth.  Today’s announcement is the first step in this journey to build strategic momentum in this critical sector.  Initial focus areas include elevating the profile of the Virginia bioscience industry, enhancing incentives for bioscience businesses, leveraging existing assets into new opportunities, assuring an outstanding bioscience workforce, and promoting commercialization of university research.
The Governor’s Bioscience Initiative will focus on six core goals:
1.                 Elevate the profile of the industry within and outside the state, communicate the state’s focused commitment, and challenge the industry to reach its potential.

2.                 Expand on strategies that support entrepreneurship, innovation, collaboration, and business development, and prioritize funding of commercialization programs.

3.                 Capitalize on our strengths to leverage extramural funding, launch new businesses, recruit investment, and create high paying jobs by focusing on areas of competitive research and industry advantage and creating synergies with Virginia’s world class IT sector through big data.

4.                 Establish a Virginia Ag Bio Initiative with a Virginia Ag Bio Advisory Committee to harness and grow industries that utilize bioscience for producing food and fuel.

5.                 Identify workforce development initiatives that align with Virginia bioscience industry needs.

6.                 Lead the nation in the ease of commercializing translational research from public universities and getting innovation to the patient’s bedside faster.
Virginia enjoys a diverse and highly educated, technical workforce, a strong private investment community, strong research universities, an entrepreneurial and business friendly environment, and proximity to both the nation’s capital and key resources, all of which will allow the bioscience industry in the Commonwealth to become a leading pillar of the new Virginia economy.  Further, fifty percent of all research done by Virginia universities is in the biosciences. Virginia has tremendous resources in its research universities, including extraordinary research which can spark and sustain bioscience economic activity, but the interface between universities and industries will garner more attention and improvement from this statewide effort.   
Professor Langer, who serves as the distinguished David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, said today, “I applaud Governor McAuliffe for recognizing the importance of the bioscience field to the economic future of Virginia.  Many researchers, entrepreneurs and policy makers have worked hard to put Virginia in the strong position it is in today.  Innovative and important research is being conducted and commercialized all over the state and the potential is there for Virginia to become even more of a leader in this industry.”
According to a 2014 Battelle Bio study, Virginia’s biotechnology industry is thriving, with more than 26,500 industry jobs that spanned 1,451 business establishments in 2012.  The same study shows Virginia enjoyed double-digit employment gains from 2007 – 2012 in the agricultural feedstock and chemicals subsector, which involves industries that utilize biochemistry and biotechnology for producing everything from food to fuel.  Building on these strengths with cutting edge research at our universities, including land-grant universities and the statewide agricultural extension network, presents an opportunity for Virginia to continue growth in this sector.  Therefore, part of today’s announcement also includes the commencement of a Virginia Agriculture Biotechnology Initiative.

(So now the governor is raiding the universities in an effort to take away human resources for the gain of others?  Isn't that nice.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

GMSA and GMSPT Have Created GRLF Revolving Loan Fund, Watch Your Investment Disappear?

The folks who run the Gloucester Main Street Association and the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust have developed a new way to get at potential business investors money.  It's called the GLFR, or Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund.  All hail BAAL for that.  These folks want you to invest in the dead area of Gloucester Main street.  A place with minimal parking at best, where the sidewalks barely meet residential standards, never mind commercial standards and there are areas considered potentially dangerous to pedestrians as the slopes on the sidewalks do not meet specs based on our research.  

  This is an area that has a lot of new business turnover as most people can not make a go of it here.  One must ask why.  Simple, no parking and no chance of ever attracting an anchor business.  An anchor business is pretty much a large retailer that has the capability of attracting large amounts of traffic into it's store and all the other stores in the area will hopefully benefit from the extra traffic in the area by offering complimentary goods and or services not carried by the anchor store.

  Not to take anything away from the well established businesses on Main Street, there are some wonderful shops there if you do not mind the lack of parking and poor pedestrian walkways throughout the area.  But look at what has been built in the area over the past decade and you will see that the only thing that might prove viable is senior service providers and if the population does go up with seniors, then maybe one candy store can make it in this environment.  I would not bank on anything else.  

  What also tickles our funny bone about the statements coming out of the Main Street Preservation Trust is their commitment to preserving main street.  Take a look at the present structures around the area and explain to us where preservation exists.  Look at the rents for the area and they are way to high for such poor traffic.  Most of the businesses that went out of business all complained of no customers or not enough customers to support the business.  

  So you want to go broke trying to make money on Main Street?  There are much better options and at better prices in other areas of the county where you are more likely to get traffic into your business.  If you listen to the hype these folks want to sell you, it all sounds rosy.  Your best bet is to walk the entire Main street area for one day and talk to present business owners and actually pay attention to everything you see.  You may save yourself a fortune and much heart ache.  Just be careful around these folks who want to give you such nice loans, they can sell ice to an Eskimo and water to fish.  And they can make everything very easy and handle all the paper work for you.  Just don't miss any payments even after you have gone belly up and have nothing left.  Isn't that just great news?

Link to all the wonderful news.  All hail BAAL!  And you even get to bow before the great BAAL when entering their office at their wonderful BAAL shopping center on Main Street.  Where our public library is as well.  That's just so special how they thought of all these wonderful ideas ahead of time.  Just remember, anyone after your money is going to be very helpful and offer more than you ever expected, that is until all your money is gone.  Then you get to see they are not sheep.  And you thought they were as gentle as lambs?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Abolish the Economic Development Authority of Gloucester County, Virginia

According to the Bylaws of the Economic Development Authority of Gloucester County, Virginia (EDA); the EDA was created in 2010.  Since its creation, the EDA has done very little to fulfill its purpose of promoting overall economic growth and stability within Gloucester County.  Since its inception the EDA has focused the majority of its efforts on supporting the interests of a select few individuals and a few nonprofit organizations like the Gloucester Main Street Association, the Gloucester Community Foundation and the Main Street Gloucester Preservation Trust. 

 In comparison, very little has been done in the best interest of Gloucester’s overall citizenry and economic stability.  A new plan should be devisedto retain and allow for the expansion of existing businesses and to attract new, clean, responsible, commercial and industrial enterprises which will best contribute to the economic well being of the community and the preservation of its natural resources.  The existing EDA should be completely abolished and economic development matters placed within the County’s planning department until a new unbiased Authority with a clear and transparent path of direction is created.  We the People of Gloucester County have grown tired of watching our tax dollars being squandered.
Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr.
Gloucester PointVirginia

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Leaders Applaud McAuliffe for Executive Order Expanding Opportunity for Small, Women, and Minority Owned Businesses

McAuliffe (Photo credit: mou-ikkai)
Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 20: Advancing Equity for Small, Women, and Minority Owned Businesses (SWaM), which expands contracting opportunities for small businesses in the Commonwealth. The executive order sets the highest contracting goal in Virginia history of state expenditures to SWaM-certified businesses at 42%It also creates a new “micro business” designation for small businesses with no more than 25 employees and no more than $3 million in revenue. Currently, over 80% of SWaM certified companies fall under this micro business category but often have to compete with companies over ten times their size for contracting opportunities.

This executive order is designed to ensure a more transparent, equitable, and inclusive procurement process for Virginia’s small, women, and minority-owned businesses, and has received praise from leaders across the Commonwealth:

Michael Zajur, President and CEO of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:

“The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce welcomes Governor McAuliffe's plans to encourage and maximize the participation of small, women, and minority owned businesses in state procurement. Not only will our chamber members benefit from increased contracting opportunities, but Virginia itself will benefit from the diversification of its economy through greater minority participation.”

Senator Don  McEachin, Henrico:

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Governor McAuliffe for his leadership in issuing this executive order. Today’s order will enable women and minority small business owners to compete on a level playing field. It will help ensure that small businesses are chosen for the quality of their work, and it will help give women and minority owners a fair shot at success.

I have repeatedly introduced a bill to address unfair contracting disparities, but have not been able to get it passed. Now, thanks to Governor McAuliffe, at least for the next three-and-a-half years, the problem is finally being fairly addressed.”

Senator Louise Lucas, Portsmouth:

“Nearly two decades ago, I introduced a resolution (SJ12) to ease the process of state procurement for minority owned businesses. Today, I am proud to say that Governor McAuliffe has taken executive action to ensure an equitable and inclusive procurement process. I am glad to have a governor who recognizes the achievements of all hard working Virginians.”

Delegate Ron Villanueva, Virginia Beach:

“Governor McAuliffe’s small, women, and minority owned business Executive Order was designed to remove unnecessary barriers and promote equity in the procurement process. By taking the initiative to ensure equality, the Governor is providing exactly the kind of leadership that Virginia needs.”

Delegate Rosalyn Dance, Petersburg:
“I am delighted with the leadership our Governor is showing today through his bold new initiatives that directly address the major obstacles and impediments that have deterred and at times prevented small women and minority businesses (SWAM) from being able to actively and successfully do business with state and local governments. This is in alignment with the legislation I have introduced this year and for the last several years along with my colleagues in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.”
Senator Mamie Locke, Hampton:
“The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus is pleased that Governor McAuliffe is issuing an Executive Order that focuses on small, women, and minority owned businesses.   This is a necessary step to ensure fairness, transparency, and equity for these businesses that are often left out of the procurement process.   I am especially excited about the opportunities for minority owned businesses for which the Caucus has been a strong voice and advocate.”

Delegate Charniele Herring, Alexandria:

"I am proud to stand with Governor McAuliffe today as he announces a step forward for small business – and for the fair inclusion of women and minorities in our Commonwealth's procurement process. We have been working toward more accountability and transparency for years – and this is positive action in the direction toward inclusiveness, which can only translate to strengthening our economy overall."

Delegate Jennifer McClellan, Richmond City:

“Today, I commend Governor McAuliffe for ensuring that our Commonwealth continues to take the lead on being the friendliest state in which to do business. It is important that we encourage SWaM businesses to come and invest their time and resources in Virginia. We must continue to level the playing field and be the standard to which other states craft their own compliance measures.”

Delegate Michael Futrell, Prince William:

“The value of this executive order cannot go understated, and I thank Governor McAuliffe for allowing SWaM businesses out there to have a fair chance at succeeding. The Governor’s vast knowledge in the business arena gives Virginia the advantage in continuing to be the friendliest state in which to do business. This administration’s continuous efforts to level the playing field for women and minorities speak to the changing landscape here in the Commonwealth.”

Delegate Matthew James, Portsmouth:

“When Governor McAuliffe signed the small, women, and minority owned business executive order, he reminded us once again of his commitment to equality. This Executive Order sets a high bar for compliance, and failure to meet the SWaM plan requirements will be detrimental to the contractor’s future projects. The Governor is taking a stand and demanding inclusiveness, and I applaud him for that.”

Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Arlington:

"Virginians have always been pioneers when it comes to creating an environment that attracts businesses to generate new jobs and grow our economy. With the signing of today’s executive order, Governor Terry McAuliffe undeniably sets the Commonwealth apart in being one of the most marketable places for women and minority owned businesses in the country. Creating positive steps forward in compliance regulations and allowing businesses to compete on a level playing field is something we must always promote and excel at here in Virginia. I applaud Governor McAuliffe for taking such a significant and important step to guarantee that all of our communities win."  

Delegate Delores McQuinn, Richmond City:

“I applaud Governor McAuliffe for timely addressing the issue of SWAM businesses receiving contracts through the state's procurement process. This is an issue on which I have tirelessly worked for several years with my colleagues in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. We are hopeful that the Governor's Executive order will eliminate the disparity minority and women owned businesses have faced for years in doing business with the Commonwealth.”

Senator Kenny Alexander, Norfolk:

“Governor McAuliffe's commitment to improving Virginia’s business climate includes providing small, women and minority owned business with the needed resources for success.  We should all applaud his inclusive approach.  These enterprises are the future of Virginia’s economy and their success is critical to long term job growth."

Delegate Lionel Spurill, Chesapeake:

“Today, Governor McAuliffe announced his plan to maximize the participation of small, women, and minority owned businesses in state procurement. This deliberate step towards creating an inclusive process is indicative of his devotion to equality for all Virginians.”