Success Story
Solar Energy Ethiopia Climate

A Bright Future: Virginia Woman-Owned Solar Energy Firm Shines with First Export Sale to Ethiopia

Solar panels on a grass with bright sun and sky in background.

With 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, Ethiopia is a shining destination for solar energy. When Selam Legasse of Selam Global Enterprise, a woman-owned small business from Virginia, was looking to take her company’s solar energy systems to international markets for the first time, she reached out to the International Trade Administration (ITA) to identify the African country as a perfect fit.  

To make Legasse’s export ambitions a reality, ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service export assistance center in Northern Virginia provided expert guidance on regulatory and documentation issues, insurance options, and export education webinars. In addition to more than 100 offices in cities across America, ITA also has Commercial Service officers in 80 postings worldwide. Our team connected with Commercial Service colleagues in Addis Ababa to reach out to several companies interested in purchasing solar energy systems and found five in just a short period of time.    

SGE’s energy and hard work, combined with the assistance of the ITA team resulted in the completion of the company’s first export sale in June 2023, marking the start of a bright exporting future. Legasse said, “I have benefited greatly from working with Dusan Marinkovic at the Northern Virginia Commercial Service office. He has provided regular counseling on export-related matters such as regulations, documentation issues, advice on distributorship agreements, as well as keeping me abreast of educational opportunities provided by their organization.  For this and all the other assistance, I am very grateful and look forward to continuing to work with the Commercial Service and its partners in the state of Virginia.” ITA is proud to support the clean energy industry and expanding the U.S. renewable energy technologies like SGE that is playing an increasingly important role in the global energy transformation.

For any business, taking the first steps on a journey to sell your products globally can be daunting. Where does the demand exist for your products? How do you navigate foreign business ecosystems? Who are the interested buyers, sellers and investors? An ITA trade specialist can help you navigate through bureaucratic red tape, research markets, connect with vetted foreign companies, and understand the rules of the road and financing routes for exporting. If you’re looking to achieve results similar to SGE’s, connect with an office near you by visiting