Gwen Hurt of Shoe Crazy Wine

Chesterfield woman creates Shoe Crazy Wine to sell her own brand of blended wines

November 5, 2017 – By John Reid Blackwell, Richmond Times-Dispatch

A personal calamity put Gwen Hurt on the path to becoming an entrepreneur.

Hurt, a South Carolina native, had a successful 15-year career working in information technology, which included living in Hong Kong for seven years. In 2013, however, she was laid off as part of a corporate restructuring.

“Normally, that is not such a big deal, in the IT world,” Hurt said. Given the demand for IT professionals, “you can just look for another position.”


$255,000 Federal Grant for Virginia Intl Trade

Governor McAuliffe Announces $255,000 Federal Grant to Support International Trade Program in Virginia
~State Trade and Export Promotion program increases exports for small businesses in the Commonwealth~

October 12, 2017 – RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia has received $255,000 in grant funding to support the Commonwealth’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program. The STEP program, funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, 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. This year’s grant will be administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s International Trade Division.


MREI launches new website

Metro Richmond Exports Initiative launches new website

September 19, 2017 – RICHMOND, Virginia – The Metro Richmond Exports Initiative launched its new website,, to provide small- and medium-sized business owners and managers in the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area with easy-to-find information on export-related topics.

“We want to see more local businesses export or increase their export sales. By making it easy to find resources and advice on the new website, we aim to take some of the mystery out of the exporting process,” said Grace Festa, MREI’s program coordinator at the Greater Richmond Partnership. (more…)

UK Export Partnership for Hardywood

~New international sales opportunity for Hardywood Park results from European trade, marketing missions; assistance from Virginia agricultural trade office~

June 29, 2017 LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced new export sales and a new distribution partnership for Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, while on his trade and marketing mission to Europe. The partnership is with American Craft Beer Company, a UK-based representative of craft breweries from the United States. Today is the first day Hardywood Park beer is available for sale in the United Kingdom and the Governor attended a launch event at a brewpub owned by Scottish-based brewery BrewDog. (more…)

Export program for county businesses

~ Exporting program targets county businesses ~


Exports are the way to go, especially for small to middle-sized businesses, according to a new campaign by local and state economic development officials.

“We have an exciting new program,” says Garrett Hart, director of the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority.

Dubbed the Metro Richmond Exports Initiative, the program offers training and advice for companies interested in selling to other countries. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership is putting $150,000 into the program. J.P. Morgan, a major international bank, is matching the money. (more…)