ATLANTA – Metro area leaders announced today the launch of the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge, a grant program targeting small and medium-sized businesses looking to begin exporting or increase their export programs. In partnership with JPMorgan Chase, a total of $210,000 will be distributed over the course of the competition.
The Metro Export Challenge is one of the key components of the Atlanta Metro Export Plan (MEP), an initiative launched in June to stimulate economic growth in the region and create quality jobs through exports. The grants challenge aims to encourage area companies to export and drive business growth by increasing international sales of local products and services.
The objectives of the Metro Export Challenge are to: 1) Challenge local companies to develop proactive export plans; 2) Drive local companies to action on those export plans and 3) Reward companies that are taking a role in increasing exports from metro Atlanta.
Metro Atlanta companies can participate by applying online at www.AtlantaExportPortal.com. The challenge includes a two-part process. First, companies will fill out a brief online assessment to determine program eligibility. Applicants will then be asked to fill out a grant application, which will be accepted through Dec. 15, 2015.
Thirty-five local companies will be selected as semi-finalists and receive reimbursement grants of up to $5,000 in January 2016. These grants can be applied toward expenses related to building export capacity and activities. The grant funds must be used by the end of May 2016. Semi-finalists will be invited back for a second round of competition for a chance to earn additional grant funding.
This second round of the Challenge will be a pitch competition – a “Shark Tank”-style session – where semi-finalists will share their export success stories during the first half of 2016 before a panel of judges. They will present an updated export business plan, detailing how they would use additional grant funds to increase exports.
The top three winners from the pitch day will receive additional grants of $20,000 (1stPlace), $10,000 (2nd Place) and $5,000 (3rd Place).
This competition is one initiative being used to increase global trade in the region and the state, which is critical for spurring economic growth, according to area leaders.
“International trade is not just about aggregating profits; it is about diversifying markets, increasing global exposure, encouraging innovation and adding to our cultural vitality,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr. “The promotion of such activity in metro Atlanta is critical to the overall strength of our state’s economy, and I applaud the collaboration of everyone involved in The Metro Export Plan for their efforts to sponsor opportunities for businesses seeking to implement or intensify a presence in the global market.”
"I am proud to join leaders from our region to support this important initiative," said Mayor Kasim Reed. "Ensuring that local companies and entrepreneurs have greater access to overseas markets will strengthen our local economy by adding jobs and facilitating more innovation."
Promoting participation from small businesses will help boost Metro Atlanta’s exports—right now, the region ranks 64th among the nation’s largest metros in export intensity, despite being the 14th largest exporter in the U.S.
“We are thrilled to participate in this program and give our local companies an opportunity to grow their businesses and contribute to increasing our region’s economy,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
“All area companies, regardless of size, can grow larger and more quickly when they realize their global opportunity,” said David Balos, head of Chase commercial banking in the region.
Exports are shown to add jobs to regional economies. The International Trade Administration reports that for every $1 billion generated in exports, an additional 5,800 new jobs are created. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers located outside the U.S., the potential for growing exports is tremendous.
In addition to the grants, the MEP committee is conducting a series of roadshows to engage local businesses and help them explore various export opportunities This includes outreach to diverse community organizations to help bolster global commerce among minority- and women-owned businesses locally.
The Atlanta MEP is being implemented by multiple organizations, including the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the City of Atlanta working in partnership with several other regional and local economic development agencies, public and private organizations. The MEP is the first phase of Atlanta’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative (“GCI”), a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase that aims to help leaders in U.S. metropolitan areas reorient their economics toward greater engagement in world markets.
For more information on the Global Cities Initiative please visit www.brookings.edu/projects/global-cities.aspx or www.jpmorganchase.com/globalcities.
About the Metro Atlanta Chamber
The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) serves as a catalyst for a more prosperous and vibrant region. To advance economic growth and improve metro Atlanta's quality of place, MAC is focused on starting, growing and recruiting companies to the 29-county metro Atlanta region. The Chamber is also focused on growing the region's innovation economy by promoting and strengthening connections to drive Atlanta's innovation and entrepreneurial culture. MAC is committed to being an active voice for the business community, serving as an advocate for a competitive business climate and telling Atlanta's story. For more information, visit www.metroatlantachamber.com
About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.