Dhiyohouse manufactures and refurbishes conveyor belts for the mining sector. Looking for resources to expand overseas, Dhiyohouse contacted the Small Business Administration (SBA) in July 2021. The SBA Office of International Trade mentioned the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) and referred Dhiyohouse to the Virginia SBDC’s International Business Development Program (IBD) for one-on-one assistance and connections to additional support organizations in Virginia.
In the ensuing meeting, the IBD team learned that Dhiyohouse had significant interest in multiple foreign markets but had not taken advantage of government trade resources.
The IBD team launched an extensive research effort on behalf of Dhiyohouse to identify the ideal global markets for expansion. Through that project, the IBD team and its student researchers narrowed the number of countries down to a small group of high potential markets.
Dhiyohouse project manager Robert Leonard credits the SBDC for supporting the company’s international growth: “If you follow the SBDC’s model, it’ll produce international revenue and grow your business. Just follow the model! The SBDC team will give you the research and provide you the resources for success.”
In addition to market research, the IBD introduced Dhiyohouse to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), which invited them to participate in a spring 2022 trade mission to Peru and Chile. During that mission, Dhiyohouse identified over half a dozen potential partners. To date, VEDP has provided $30,000 in grants to Dhiyohouse to support their trade program. The IBD team also connected Dhiyohouse with the U.S. Commercial Service for assistance vetting interested foreign buyers.
The SBDC’s IBD program has been an ongoing resource to Dhiyohouse by providing specific assistance on growing international sales and recommending translation companies to internationalize its website.
Dhiyohouse has enrolled in the Virginia SBDC’s inaugural cohort of the International Business Plan program, in which companies learn how to develop a sound, bankable export strategy.