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The Journal: Program Stresses Exports

Published: 10/14/2005

Program stresses exports  

A forum for area entrepreneurs was held Thursday

MARTINSBURG - West Virginia exports are increasing, and people who attended an entrepreneur program Thursday were able to learn about expanding businesses through sales opportunities overseas.

Thursday night's program at the Holiday Inn Martinsburg was a monthly meeting sponsored by the Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum. The development authorities of Berkeley and Jefferson counties helped organize the event which featured speakers who shared information about export resources.

Leslie Wrenn Drake deputy director of the West Virginia Development Office s International Division gave a quick talk during the program Drake explained some of the services available to small and medi um size businesses.

"We try to reach as many West Virginia companies as we can," she said, adding she and others in her office try to promote products fiom the state throughout the world.

"West Virginia s expoits have been increasing dramatically in recent years," she said estimating there was about a 13 per cent increase from 2003 to 2004.

Drake said her office offers counseling services and she also sets up trade events throughout the world. She said her office also works with export assistance centers in Wheeling and Charleston and another speaker Thursday represented one of those agencies.

James Fitzgerald, director of Wheeling Export Assistance Center, presented export information Thursday after Drake's short talk. Fitzgerald handed out pamphlets and resource materials on the U S Commercial Service which places emphasis on the pro motion of exports of goods and services.

The evening's program also included Harry M. Siegel, founder of HMS
Technologies in Martinsburg. Siegel talked about facts and statistics company leaders should know that will help when starting and continuing to operate a business overseas.

Besides speakers, regular monthly Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum programs also usually include networking with a variety of businesses.

The next meeting of the Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum is scheduled for Nov. 10 at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg. The program will feature representatives from different agencies speaking on state financial resources.

The West Vuginia Development Office can be reached by calling (304) 558 2234 Export information is also available by calling (800) USA TRADE or by visiting

More information on the Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum is available by calling the Jefferson County Development Authority office at 728-3255
- Staff writer Beth Henry can be reached at 263 8931 Ext 163 or

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