STEP Grant Funds Support Small Business Exports

DOVER – For the fifth year in a row, the Delaware Department of State has received a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.) This year’s award totals $268,096 and will be used to support the state’s efforts to assist small Delaware companies in entering and developing markets overseas.

The program’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export, increasing sales and ultimately generating jobs in Delaware. The STEP Grant program makes matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses in the international marketplace. Delaware will match the SBA grant with $89,365, bringing the total available for export efforts to $357,461.

To date, 96 Delaware small businesses have participated in the program. As a result, these small businesses report $48 million in new export sales, and project over $180 million in additional export sales in the next two years. In addition, 27 Delaware jobs have been created.

“The STEP Grant funds from the SBA have proven instrumental to Delaware entrepreneurs in yielding new international business. This program is a direct source of new growth for our state’s economy,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock.

As with previous STEP grants, a significant portion of the grant will be used to directly reimburse small- and medium-sized companies for eligible, pre-approved export expenses such as international travel, trade show activities, translation of international marketing materials, and overseas interpreters. Without STEP grant funds, the costs of these services would otherwise prohibit many Delaware small businesses from entering certain international markets.

Export Delaware, the state’s official export resource for small businesses, will use the grant to finance export-related marketing activities. Delaware small businesses that are interested in applying may learn more about the program at export.delaware.gov.

“We are thrilled to continue to support Delaware’s small businesses as they begin to export and grow through increased international sales. We expect to build upon the success of this tremendous SBA program in 2020 and the years to come,” said Beth Pomper, head of Export Delaware.

This year, Export Delaware is offering business trips to Israel, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Chile, Peru, and the Philippines. These trade missions are designed specifically for Delaware small businesses and provide the opportunity for their teams to meet one-on-one with potential customers and distributors overseas.

Delaware’s international trade representatives work with Export Delaware to organize meetings with targeted customers tailored to each participant’s needs. Delaware’s trade representatives abroad have wide networks in their countries, enabling them to secure meetings with high-level decision makers. Export Delaware staff accompany Delaware businesses in their meetings to help facilitate discussion and work toward deals.

Delaware small businesses that have joined Export Delaware trips in the past have successfully identified new distributors and partners. Export Delaware has helped small businesses achieve significant growth. Recent highlights include:

● $4.2 million purchase order as a result of a grant-funded business trip to the UK
● $3.5 million in sales as result of a trip to Germany
● $3.5 million in sales as a result of trips to Canada and Mexico

To learn more about the STEP Grant and how to apply, visit export.delaware.gov or contact Beth Pomper at beth.pomper@delaware.gov


Secretary of State Announces Massage Therapy License Suspension

DOVER – Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock has suspended the Delaware massage therapy license of Christopher D. Dorman in light of allegations of sexual assault made by several female clients.

In making this determination, Secretary Bullock considered a complaint filed by the Department of Justice, which alleged that Mr. Dorman failed to properly cover female clients during massage sessions and touched their breasts and genitals on several occasions while employed at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Wilmington and Massage Envy in Newark. The complaint further alleged that Mr. Dorman “displayed a pattern of escalating behavior towards female clients that puts them at risk” and referenced Mr. Dorman’s arrest by Wilmington Police on charges of unlawful sexual contact.

The order suspending Mr. Dorman’s license was signed by the secretary on Nov. 28 with the concurrence of the president of the Board of Massage and Bodywork.

Delaware Code Title 24 enables a temporary suspension pending a hearing to be issued upon the written order of the Secretary of State, if the activity of the licensee presents a clear and immediate danger to public health, safety or welfare.

The suspension of Mr. Dorman will remain in effect for a period of 60 days, during which time disciplinary hearings will be held or the final disposition for this individual will take place. As the result of a hearing, the Board of Massage and Bodywork has the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions up to and including revocation of a practitioner’s license.

The licensure status of Mr. Dorman has been updated on the Division of Professional Regulation’s online license verification service. Documentation related to this suspension also may be viewed at this site.


Secretary of State Announces Chemical Dependency Counselor License Suspension

DOVER – Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock has suspended the Delaware chemical dependency counseling license of Sachin Karnik in light of recent criminal charges filed against him.

In making this determination, Secretary Bullock considered a complaint filed by the Department of Justice, which referenced Mr. Karnik’s recent arrest for felony health care fraud, felony theft, and falsifying business records. The complaint further alleges that Mr. Karnik misrepresented his credentials, falsified his licensing application and disregarded ethical standards.

A separate license held by Mr. Karnik to practice clinical social work was suspended on March 1 by the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners, following a disciplinary hearing. The board concluded that Mr. Karnik had violated professional standards while caring for a vulnerable patient.

The order suspending Mr. Karnik’s chemical dependency counseling license was signed by the secretary June 5 with the concurrence of the president of the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals.

Delaware Code Title 24 enables a temporary suspension pending a hearing to be issued upon the written order of the Secretary of State, if the activity of the licensee presents a clear and immediate danger to public health, safety or welfare.

The suspension of Mr. Karnik will remain in effect for a period of 60 days, during which time disciplinary hearings will be held or the final disposition for this individual will take place. As the result of a hearing, the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals has the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions up to and including revocation of a practitioner’s license or certification.

The licensure status of Mr. Karnik has been updated on the Division of Professional Regulation’s online license verification service. Documentation related to this suspension, as well as documentation of previous disciplinary actions against Mr. Karnik, also may be viewed at this site.

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Visit Delaware Showcases Endless Discoveries with 360 Virtual Tour for National Travel and Tourism Week

WILMINGTON – You can now see Delaware like never before with a breathtaking virtual tour of the state’s endless discoveries.

At Nemours Estate Monday, as part of National Travel and Tourism Week (May 6-12), Governor John Carney, Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and Delaware Tourism Director Liz Keller showcased the experience that takes visitors on a sweeping, 360-degree journey of Delaware.

The virtual reality tour includes the experience of canoeing through Trap Pond State Park, strolling the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk and walking the lavish grounds of Nemours Estate.

The tour is another exciting tool for the Delaware Tourism Office to introduce Delaware to potential out-of-state visitors. It is available to view at VisitDelaware.com to spark travelers’ inspiration as they plan their trips.

“With the launch of this new virtual tour, the Delaware Tourism Office is embracing new technologies when marketing the state’s ‘Endless Discoveries’ at time when, as a state, we are working to grow innovation and the high-tech sector to move the economy forward,” said Gov. Carney.

“The tourism industry is vitally important to Delaware,” Sec. Bullock said. “The sector employs almost 43,000 people thanks in large part to the hard work and ingenuity of small business owners and entrepreneurs, who are a backbone of the state’s economy and who help make the visitor experience here so incredible.”

A record 9 million people visited Delaware in 2016, contributing a record $3.3 billion to the state’s economy, according to the latest Value of Tourism report.

“One of the most important ways the state tourism office works to drive out-of-state visitation to Delaware is by keeping on top of the changing landscape of technology,” Delaware Tourism Director Liz Keller said. “Staying at the forefront means adopting new technologies, listening to customers and engaging with them.”

Nemours Estate expects that being featured in the tourism office’s first-ever virtual tour will help continue the tremendous growth in visitation it has seen recently. The number of visitors grew to 25,000 in 2017, up from 15,000 in 2016.

“The virtual tour will introduce people, who may not yet be familiar with Nemours Estate, to the beauty of our mansion, gardens and grounds,” said John Rumm, executive director of Nemours Estate. “We’re confident that once people see us on a virtual tour they will want to visit us in person.”

Travelers stopping at the Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza on I-95 Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. have the chance to put on the headset for themselves to take the tour in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, part of the Delaware Division of Small Business, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at http://www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free at (866) 284-7483.

Media Contact
Gary Haber
Communications Manager
Delaware Division of Small Business
Gary.Haber@delaware.gov
(302) 577-8471 (office)
(302) 222-7114 (cell phone)


Secretary of State Announces Medical License and Controlled Substance Registration Suspensions

DOVER – Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock has suspended the Delaware medical license and controlled substance privileges of Gregory Villabona, in light of allegations of unprofessional conduct related to the prescription and distribution of opioid medications.

In making this determination, Secretary Bullock considered the findings of two parallel complaints filed by the Delaware Department of Justice, which alleged that Mr. Villabona prescribed opioids to patients with little or no required documentation, failed to maintain effective controls against diversion of controlled substances, and exchanged guns and weapons with patients.

“The facts presented to me in this case demonstrate an immediate danger to public safety, which is the standard that an emergency suspension of this nature must meet,” said Secretary Bullock.

The order suspending Mr. Villabona’s medical license was signed by the secretary today with the concurrence of the president of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline. Secretary Bullock also signed a separate order suspending Mr. Villabona’s Delaware controlled substance registration.

Mr. Villabona is a psychiatrist with a practice in Dover and was previously disciplined by state licensing authorities in 2003 for unprofessional conduct arising from sex offenses in Maryland to which Mr. Villabona plead guilty. He was disciplined again in 2007 for violating the terms of a 2005 order, which, in part, prohibited Mr. Villabona from treating minor patients in unsupervised settings. In 2008, Mr. Villabona entered into a consent agreement with the state that placed certain permanent restrictions on his medical license, including limiting his practice to male patients over the age of 18.

Delaware Code Title 24 enables a temporary suspension pending a hearing to be issued upon the written order of the Secretary of State, if the activity of the licensee presents a clear and immediate danger to public health, safety or welfare.

The suspension of Mr. Villabona will remain in effect for a period of 60 days, during which time disciplinary hearings will be held or the final disposition for this individual will take place. As the result of a hearing, the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline has the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions up to and including revocation of a practitioner’s license or certification.

The licensure status of Mr. Villabona will soon be updated on the Division of Professional Regulation’s online license verification service. Documentation of previous actions against Mr. Villabona’s medical license may also be viewed at this site.