Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) announced on Tuesday that it is launching a new trade grant program to help the state’s small and medium-sized companies continue doing business overseas even as international travel is restricted during the coronavirus pandemic.
EFI’s 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 includes 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. EFI’s trade grant will cover the full cost of the matchmaking on a reimbursable basis, making the service completely 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 Florida Commerce Sec. Jamal Sowell, EFI’s president and CEO. “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 Matchmaking will 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.
With EFI defining the state as the “world’s principal commercial gateway to Latin American and 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 seventh largest export state in the U.S. with Florida-origin exports of $56 billion.