About KEI

The Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI) helps Kentucky businesses find opportunities to sell their products abroad. And the numbers prove KEI has been a tremendous success. Kentucky’s 2016 exports exceeded $29.2 billion. This continued a growth trend that has been setting records for six consecutive years.

KEI is a partnership of government entities, business organizations and trade experts, with one common goal - to increase Kentucky exports, which will lead to new Kentucky jobs and create diversified markets for Kentucky products. The Cabinet for Economic Development provides staffing and resources to assist the KEI partners in helping businesses recognize business opportunities associated with exporting.

The Commonwealth has a long tradition of excellence producing goods and services. We are proud to share our products and our hard work with the world. Kentucky’s exporters range from small to large, from experienced to novice. Each of them helps to ensure a strong future for our great state by bringing the innovation, quality, and uniqueness of Kentucky products to the global marketplace.

The Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI) brings together agencies and organizations that facilitate international trade opportunities for Kentucky exporters. Together, the KEI partners have made education and export awareness a priority.

These partner organizations are providing access to training, identifying potential new markets, and connecting companies from across the state with the people, events, and opportunities that can help them grow. By connecting international distributors, buyers and clients with Kentucky companies, the Kentucky Export Initiative can help create long-lasting, prosperous trade ties between Kentucky and the global marketplace.

  • Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

    Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the state’s primary agency that is responsible for business development efforts in Kentucky. The Cabinet also manages the state’s exporting efforts including the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant.

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  • World Trade Center Kentucky

    World Trade Center Kentucky organizes and executes trade missions, provides comprehensive trade education on numerous topics, and executes customized research. Kentucky is served by World Trade Center offices in Lexington and Louisville.

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  • United States Commercial Service

    U.S. Commercial Service is the Commerce Department’s lead business unit for trade promotion and supports U.S. businesses through its global network of offices. The U.S. Commercial Service offers businesses world-class market research, trade events that promote U.S. products or services to qualified buyers, introductions to qualified buyers and distributors, and one-on-one counseling through every step of the export process.

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  • Kentucky Small Business Development Center

    Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC): Has assisted Kentucky’s small business community for more than 25 years. With 13 service centers statewide, KSBDC offices provide unparalleled consulting and training services that help potential and existing business owners become market ready.

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  • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

    The premier business association in the state, representing. 3,800 member businesses – from family-owned shops to Fortune 500 companies – that employ over half of the Commonwealth’s workforce. The state chamber partners with more than 80 local chambers and 25,000 business professionals to educate and advocate on behalf of all Kentucky businesses.

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  • Northern Kentucky International Trade Association

    Northern Kentucky International Trade Association (NKITA) aims to enhance international economic opportunities for Northern Kentucky business members. The program connects members with global businesses and additional opportunities through programs, trade education seminars, special events, trade missions, and the planning of several foreign Embassy visits to the Northern Kentucky region.

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  • Kentucky Association of Manufacturers

    Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) advocates for and promotes Kentucky manufacturers through advocacy and communications efforts.

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  • Kentucky Association for Economic Development

    Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED) is dedicated to promoting and facilitating economic development in the Commonwealth. KAED educates, advocates and connects association members. Membership covers all parts and aspects of the industry in Kentucky, from rural to urban areas, providing a broad array of resources and expertise in the field of economic development.

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  • U.S. Small Business Administration

    U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) (Kentucky District Office) was created to assist and protect the interests of small businesses, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to strengthen the overall economy of the country. Its bottom line mission is to help Americans start, build and grow businesses. The Kentucky District office is responsible for the delivery of SBA’s programs and services throughout Kentucky.

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  • Kentucky Department of Agriculture

    The Kentucky Department of Agriculture works to assist Kentucky companies and producers export their agricultural commodities and value-added products around the world. Along with other External Organizations, we are available to point to Technical Expertise & Tools, link up Financial Assistance, foster Networking Opportunities, and assist with Market Research

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