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Going global to help communities grow

Cumberland Valley Electric, Jackson Energy, and East Kentucky Power Cooperative have come up with a new approach for the cooperative principle “Concern for Community” by encouraging more Kentucky businesses to export their products to other countries. Increasing Kentucky’s exports creates new jobs and strengthens local economies.

The three co-ops recently held a seminar for local business leaders and officials to provide information on how to market products in foreign countries. Area business leaders learned about state incentives and grants, as well as international outlets for their products, from Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development executives.

Farmers RECC, Big Sandy RECC, and South Kentucky RECC have also hosted export seminars, and more are scheduled around the state.

Morgan Pierstorff, project manager with the Cabinet for Economic Development, says the state’s export initiative offers access to grants that can help businesses reduce their costs when they’re looking to export.

“Think of us as a free consultant,” Pierstorff says. “We can help provide exposure for your products in international markets, as well as help you target the right companies.”

Ron Roy, director of sales and marketing of Highlands Diversified Services, spoke about his company’s exporting success and how state incentives helped him take his products abroad.

Highlands, which was recently acquired by Bear Diversified, makes aerospace, automotive, and satellite television products. The company supplies millions of antenna sets for major service providers each year. Roy used the Cabinet’s STEP (State Trade and Expansion Program) grant program to help him explore exporting.

The Cabinet is currently accepting applications for STEP grants and other programs. For more information, go online to You don’t have to be a huge manufacturer or large industry to get help from the Cabinet.

For more information on all programs available through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, go online to

Debra Gibson Isaacs from May 2016 Issue

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