The University of Virginia has joined the Virginia International Trade Alliance, a state initiative aimed at getting more goods into the international marketplace.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe created the alliance, known as VITAL, in July. The Darden School of Business is the first UVA school to participate in the arrangement.
Darden will identify companies seeking to expand into international markets, and students and faculty will help provide those companies with international business plans. UVA joins nine other state universities as VITAL Partners.
To be accepted into the VITAL program, companies must submit an application to Darden and pay a $1,000 participation fee. UVA will receive $3,000 for each company project it completes.
“We welcome Darden to what is already a very impressive VITAL team,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones said. “In order to get into the export game, it is essential to have the highest functioning team, and having a global brand like Darden as a part of this effort will only strengthen our ability to help businesses expand and create jobs.”
VITAL expands Virginia’s nationally recognized international trade program, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, known as VEDP.
“Darden looks forward to a closer relationship with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, particularly as it employs the VITAL program as a new resource for Virginia companies looking at global markets,” said Marc Johnson, the school’s executive director of global affairs.
“As Darden prepares students to become leaders who step forward and improve the world, we look to partner with companies and organizations with similar goals. The VITAL program is a good example of collaboration between VEDP and Virginia universities to create a platform that provides Virginia businesses access to top talent and resources while giving students opportunities to help address pressing global business challenges,” Johnson said.
Partners thus far are: the College of William & Mary, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, Christopher Newport University, Old Dominion University, University of Mary Washington, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, the Virginia Manufacturer’s Association, the Virginia Maritime Association, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.
Goals for the new program include growing Virginia exports by $1.6 billion in five years and creating 14,000 trade-supported jobs in the same time frame. In 2014, the value of Virginia’s exports reached $36 billion, an increase of 56 percent since 2003.