June 8, 2017

Metro Atlanta’s leadership today announced the first-round winners of the annual Atlanta Metro Export Challenge (Atlanta MEC), a grant program targeting local companies with innovative export strategies.

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ATLANTA – June 8, 2017 – Metro Atlanta’s leadership today announced the first-round winners of the annual Atlanta Metro Export Challenge (Atlanta MEC), a grant program targeting local companies with innovative export strategies. Twenty-eight companies from metro Atlanta were selected as semi-finalists in the competition and will each receive a reimbursement grant of up to $5,000 to apply toward expenses related to building export capacity and activities.

Nearly 100 companies, ranging in size from pre-revenue startups to small and established medium-sized businesses, applied for the 28 available grants. The semi-finalists represent a wide array of industries, including traditional and advanced manufacturing, professional services, food and beverage, and technology companies. Women-owned and minority-owned businesses are among the semi-finalists as well as representatives from eight counties, seven of which are within the metro Atlanta 29-county region.

To see the full list of grant awardees, click here.

“It is an honor to be a part of the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge again this year,” said Mary Waters, deputy commissioner for international trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Georgia is a great place for innovative companies to prosper, and this competition allows companies to take advantage of our top-notch resources that strengthen their efforts across the globe.”

Grant winners demonstrating export success during the second half of 2017 will be invited back for the second round of competition at Pitch Day – a Shark Tank-style pitch session before a panel of judges. At Pitch Day, companies will present their exportable product or service, their export success with the initial grant, and a business plan detailing how they will use additional grant funds to increase exports. The top three companies will receive $20,000 (first place), $10,000 (second place), and $5,000 (third place).

The Atlanta MEC will distribute a total of $200,000 over the course of the competition. This competition is one of the key components of the Atlanta Metro Export Plan (MEP), an initiative launched in June 2015 to stimulate economic growth in the region and create quality jobs through exports. The grants competition aims to encourage area companies to export and drive business growth by increasing international sales of local products and services. JPMorgan Chase & Co. renewed their commitment to the program with a $100,000 grant to support the Atlanta MEC. This year they are joined by UPS, contributing an additional $25,000, and Partnership Gwinnett, contributing $5,000.

“Companies with global perspectives are more likely to create new jobs and tend to be more resilient and innovative as they respond to global market demand,” said David Balos, head of Chase Middle Market Banking. “We applaud the latest round of winners and believe these export efforts will lead to more job creation and growth for our local economy in Metro Atlanta.”

“We congratulate the first round winners for their innovation and focus on global growth. UPS is honored to be a part of this collaborative effort to encourage metro Atlanta companies to explore and pursue export opportunities,” said Bill Seward, U.S. international president at UPS. “Being an integral part of the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge aligns with UPS’s commitment to expand our customers’ horizons and connect a global community through intelligent logistics networks.” 

Promoting participation from small businesses will help boost metro Atlanta’s exports. To date, the region ranks 68th among the nation’s largest metros in export intensity – or exports as a percentage of economic output – despite being the 14th largest exporter in the U.S. 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.

“As our region works to further our export capacity and intensity, we want to provide concrete resources to companies that are striving to impact our growth,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “I’m eager to watch the Atlanta MEC’s semi-finalists continue to position metro Atlanta as a global competitor through the innovative products and services they are delivering to an international market.”

The Atlanta MEP is being implemented by multiple organizations, including the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the City of Atlanta and Partnership Gwinnett working in partnership with several other regional and local economic development organizations, public and private agencies.

“We are thrilled that three DeKalb companies have been awarded this tremendous opportunity. The grant funding will allow them to pursue new initiatives related to expanding their businesses internationally, leading to more jobs and local investment here in DeKalb County,” said Ray Gilley, president, Decide DeKalb Development Authority.

The MEP is the first phase of Atlanta’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative (“GCI”), a joint project of the Brookings Institution 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 Atlanta MEC, visit:

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


About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 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

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the web at and its corporate blog can be found at To get UPS news direct, visit or follow @UPS_News.