July 15, 2008

Christie Miller
(804) 545-5805
Cedar Bluff company accepted into AIM program
-State export activation program accepts five Virginia companies into June 2008 class-

RICHMOND - The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) Division of International Trade announced today that Ceramic Technologies of Cedar Bluff was accepted into the June 2008 class of the Accessing International Markets (AIM) program. The year-long export development program helps Virginia companies pursue new business opportunities overseas. The June 2008 class will target countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Ceramic Technologies is an engineering, fabricating and manufacturing firm that specializes in the application of ceramic and wear-resistant linings to materials handling equipment that can increase equipment life and efficiency up to 1,000 percent. The company assists its customers in controlling maintenance costs and equipment downtime while providing on-site installation and maintenance crews.

“International sales offer significant opportunities for our company,” said Sam Sanders, Vice President. “We are eager to explore exporting as a growth strategy and AIM will help us to do just that. In addition to valuable capital funding, research and expert counseling, AIM’s export training will give us the confidence to explore exports leads on our own in the future.”

AIM jump-starts exports by encouraging a proactive, systematic approach to exporting in order to minimize risks and maximize returns. Participants learn the basics of export while they simultaneously explore sales in a new market overseas. Companies do not need prior export experience, but must agree to visit their target export market prior to graduation, and must attend quarterly seminars covering the basic steps of exporting.

“To support their efforts, AIM connects participants to the tools and resources needed for successful export sales,” said Elizabeth Morgan-Brown, AIM Program Manager. “VEDP looks forward to supporting Ceramic Technologies as they develop and implement their international business strategy.”

Participants have access to $5,000 that will be refunded to offset approved export-related expenses. They also receive pro-bono counseling from six private-sector export specialists including an attorney, a Web designer, a banker, a translator, a freight forwarder and a U.S. export compliance specialist.

AIM draws upon public and private-sector resources to help participants develop and implement a custom Market Access Plan (MAP) for their target market that incorporates the 10 basic steps of export. The AIM “MAP” approach can be replicated to target new markets in the future. Participants are also encouraged to initiate projects to support their overall exports such as conducting a compliance audit, translating marketing materials, updating Web sites or purchasing export software.

Based on a competitive quarterly application process, 20 companies will be accepted into the AIM program each year. Applicants for the September 2008 class are currently being considered and are due no later than August 1, 2008.

To learn more about the AIM Program, contact Elizabeth Morgan-Brown at or visit the services tab at

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 21-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP has offices in Virginia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Korea and Japan.


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