By Reg Godin, Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Today, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) announces the availability of $25,000 in grant funds for the Trade Show Assistance Grant. Part of VAAFM’s growing Domestic Export Program, the Trade Show Assistance Grant is designed to help expand out-of-state sales opportunities for Vermont farm, food, and forestry businesses by increasing the financial accessibility of national trade shows. Held annually throughout the United States, trade shows attract many thousands of retailers and represent a valuable opportunity for VT businesses to exhibit their products and connect with new out-of-state markets and distribution channels.
Vermont businesses have the option to apply for funding in two different areas:
- Trade Show Attendee - A new Company which has not exhibited at a trade show before and would like the opportunity to attend (but not exhibit), to gauge exhibiting opportunities, and partake in educational programs. Maximum grant will be $500 per attendee, with no more than 2 attendees per company.
- Trade Show Exhibitor – A Company exhibiting at a specific trade show for the first time (or first time in 5 years). Grants of up to $2,000 are available to assist grantees with expenses related to: booth space, travel expenses, accessories and trade show related marketing.
The application window for the Trade Show Assistance Grant will be open from Wednesday, October 28th through Tuesday, December 8th 2015. The Trade Show Grant application can be found online here: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/domestic_export/trade_show_grant_application
This year marks the second year the Trade Show Assistance Grant has been made available to Vermont businesses. Last year, 25 grantees were selected to attend 15 different trade shows in 10 different states across the country, including Nevada and California. Twenty-one grantees have participated in a trade show to date, collectively reporting over 1,000 sales leads generated, nearly $35,000 in immediate sales and an estimated $1 million in annual sales.
"A trade show is much more than a venue for sales,” said Hilary Hoffman of Vermont Hay Company, a 2014/2015 Trade Show Grantee who exhibited for the first time at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, MD. “It is an opportunity to learn from more experienced retailers and wholesalers about product placement and price point, to gain input on possible future products, to collaborate with other companies, and to gain significant exposure to both small retailers and some of the largest chains in the United States. Well worth attending!"
This year, the Working Lands Enterprise Fund has allocated $25,000 to continue the Trade Show Assistance Grant for the 2015/2016 grant period. The mission of the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is to strengthen and grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont's working landscape. This $25,000 investment will help Vermont food and forest producers reach critical out-of-state markets and support Vermont’s growing economy.
The Domestic Export Program is administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. For more information about The Domestic Export Program, contact Reg Godin at Reg.Godin@vermont.gov or (802) 522-3648.