Atlanta Metro Export Challenge Announces First Round Winners
Metro area leaders today announced the first-round winners of the inaugural Atlanta Metro Export Challenge, a grant program powered by Chase which boosts support for small and medium-sized businesses looking to begin exporting or to increase their export programs. Thirty-five 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 70 companies, ranging in size from pre-revenue startups to small and established medium-sized businesses, applied for the 35 available grants. The semi-finalists represent a wide array of industries, including traditional and advanced manufacturing, professional services, food and beverage, apparel and technology companies. Women-owned and minority-owned businesses are among the semi-finalists. Also, grant awardees represent 12 different counties, eight of which are within the metro Atlanta 29-county region.
To see the full list of grant awardees, click here.
Grant winners demonstrating export success during the first half of 2016 will be invited back for the second round of competition this summer at Pitch Day – a Shark Tank-style pitch session before a panel of judges. The semi-finalists must share their export success and future plans for export development for a chance to win additional prize money. 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 (1stPlace), $10,000 (2nd Place), and $5,000 (3rd Place).
“We are excited to play a role in the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge,” said Mary Waters, Deputy Commissioner for International Trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “This spirited competition is a perfect way to engage innovative companies and prompt them to take full advantage of the support services we offer to bolster their international sales.”
“I am pleased to see more than a dozen businesses from the City of Atlanta receive a grant through the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge, which gives these companies the resources they need to grow their export programs,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “In the twenty-first century economy, companies with an export component are more profitable and more likely to grow and succeed.”
The Atlanta Metro Export Challenge will distribute a total of $210,000 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. The program was created through a grant from JPMorgan Chase as part of the firm’s ongoing work to promote global competitiveness in metros around the country.
”The more we support small businesses efforts to broaden their opportunity, the stronger our economy becomes, and exports are key to meaningful, sustainable growth,” said David Balos, market leader for JPMorgan Chase in Georgia.
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 – 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.
“The Metro Export Challenge is a great incentive for companies to think about cultivating job growth by increasing their exports. It’s encouraging that many of our region’s companies are taking the initiative to grow their business through exports and reach new customers in international markets,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
“We are thrilled that one of our local companies was awarded this grant. The funds will help this homegrown business increase their overseas sales which we anticipate will lead to more jobs and local investment here in Fayette County,” said Carlotta Ungaro, president & CEO of the Fayette Chamber of Commerce.
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 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.
Click here to view the original release from the Metro Atlanta Chamber.