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August 6, 2018

Annual Grant Program For Metro Atlanta Companies Doing Business Globally Returns

Returning for the third year in a row, the 2018 Atlanta Metro Export Challenge (Atlanta MEC), sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, kicked off at the headquarters of the LED display manufacturer, NanoLumens, on July 18. The Atlanta MEC is a dynamic grant program designed to engage metro Atlanta companies in developing and growing their international sales.

“Six years ago, we launched the Global Cities Initiative with the Brookings Institution to help communities think about economic development in a new way,” said David Balos, managing director of Georgia and Alabama for JP Morgan Chase. “To date, we have provided more than $8.1 million to 24 metropolitan areas to seed and support strategic plans to navigate a fast-globalizing world.”

The Global Cities Initiative is a joint project by Brookings and JPMorgan Chase that helps leaders of major metro areas to strengthen their regional economies by becoming connected to the global marketplace.

To participate in the Atlanta MEC, companies must submit a grant application through the Atlanta Export Portal to be evaluated by a selection committee. Applications are due August 31. The top 30 companies will receive $5,000 each towards their international sales strategies. Eligible companies will proceed to the next round of the challenge- the Pitch Day, where they can compete for three additional grants of $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000.

“Some companies worry that they are not ready, but everyone should feel like they have a chance [to succeed with the challenge],” Balos said. “$5,000 makes a real difference in strategic plans.”

In fact, a recent survey of previous grant winners has shown that nearly 50 percent of the companies saw new sales to foreign buyers directly related to the grant. 96 percent of the companies plan to add new jobs within the next 24 months.

The launch of the Atlanta MEC featured a panel of metro Atlanta exporters, including Joé Lloyd of NanoLumens, Dot Bustelo of Loupe, and Ben Carter of Talero Tequila. The panel was moderated by Nick Masino, CEO of Partnership Gwinnett.

NanoLumens, a company based in Gwinnett county, provides high definition screens of any shape to clients abroad and at home. Their clients include SunTrust Park and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,

“We’ve been in business for 11 years, and on the market for six. Lots of our international work has come from countries like Australia,” Lloyd explained.

Loupe is an online visual art platform, streaming hi-res images of artwork both as a backdrop in public spaces and on private TVs, tablets, phones and computers. Loupe also allows users to purchase pieces through the platform to directly support the artists. 

“[Participating in the challenge] is a no-brainer,” Bustelo said. “As a result of our participation, Loupe has traveled to London and Barcelona. We launched exclusively on Apple TV and now web streaming on LED displays, exposing art all around the world.”

Talero Tequila is a local company and producer of an award-winning premium Tequila. The company has been growing their international business consistently and most recently struck a deal with Alibaba.

“[Talero Tequila] started in Atlanta because we are all from here. Now we have expanded to 18 states and five countries,” Carter said.

Last year, the Atlanta MEC awarded three companies: Triatek Holdings, Dustex LLC and IronCAD, receiving $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

In addition to JP Morgan Chase, the Atlanta MEC is sponsored by UPS, Johnson Controls, Partnership Gwinnett and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. To apply for the challenge and learn more about the grant program, please visit: https://www.atlantaexportportal.com/.

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