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Virginia Business Leaders Working to Keep the Commonwealth Rolling in the Right Direction


Business leaders from across the country are preparing for a recovery in 2021, and hoping to position Virginia as the best state for business.

Listen up, North Carolina and Georgia. Virginia is coming for you. That's the message from Virginia's business community, which is hoping to steal the spotlight for best in business climate. Now, CNBC already ranks Virginia as number one. But that's only one of several rankings. There's also Forbes, Site Selection and Chief Executive.

Stephen Moret at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership says one way for Virginia to beat out the competition is to set a goal for increasing international trade.

"Increasing exports per capita in Virginia by 50% in the Commonwealth over the next 15 years. That would be enough to position us to go from 41st per capita to roughly the top 20 by 2035," he explains. "It’d be a dramatic improvement. We'd go from trailing much of the south to really being one of the leading states for exports in the country."

Chris Lloyd at McGuireWoods says it's also important for people to know what's happening in Virginia.

"Unlike New York State, which spends nearly $50 million per year on economic development marketing and many other states that spend over than $10 million per year, our current budget is about $3 million per year," Lloyd says. "And for much of the past two decades, that amount has been $0."

The Virginia Chamber's blueprint for recovering after the downturn includes pumping money into trade development programs, expanding broadband and investing in Virginia's business-ready site program so when businesses consider moving to the Commonwealth, there's a location available and equipped to land the deal.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.