Metro Atlanta Leadership Announces 2017 Metro Export Challenge

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Metro Atlanta’s leadership announced the launch of the 2017 Metro Export Challenge, a grant program targeting local companies with innovative export strategies. Atlanta MEC is one of the key components of the Atlanta Metro Export Plan, an initiative created to drive economic growth in the region and produce quality jobs through exports.

“The Atlanta MEC has encouraged companies all around the region to view exports as a means to grow their business,” said Partnership Gwinnett Chief Economic Development Officer Nick Masino. “Through last year’s challenge, seven Gwinnett companies received grants totaling $45,000, which has had a direct economic impact in our community.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. renewed their commitment to the program with a $100,000 grant to support the Metro Export Challenge. This year they are joined by UPS, contributing an additional $25,000 and Partnership Gwinnett contributing $5,000.

“JPMorgan Chase is pleased to support Atlanta businesses that are going global,” said David Balos, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking group in Georgia. ‘’We hope the next phase of the Metro Export Challenge program will enable these local firms to spend time in their target international markets, so they can visit suppliers and potential customers. In time, their export efforts could lead to job creation and growth of the metro Atlanta economy.”

Atlanta MEC is a competition open to companies in and around metro Atlanta currently engaged or interested in international business sales. Businesses must complete an assessment before submitting a formal application, which is due by May 19, to be considered for the grant.

Atlanta MEC seeks to spur the development of proactive international business sales plans and drive local companies to act on them. During round one of the Atlanta MEC, 25 businesses will receive reimbursement grants of up to $5,000 that may be applied to expenses relating to building their export capacity and activities.

Round two of Atlanta MEC will feature eligible finalists in a Pitch Day competition, in which the companies will present their export plans to a panel of judges. The top three companies to emerge from Pitch Day will receive additional grants of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000.

Bill Seward, U.S. International President at UPS will be on the MEC selection committee. “Our priority is to foster trade and help companies expand globally,” Seward said. “We help small business owners and entrepreneurs with customized solutions to help grow their business and revenue while reducing costs.”
UPS will assist local small businesses with shipping incentives through UPS Connect and insurance services with UPS Capital.  

“Last year’s Atlanta Metro Export Challenge was a great success. Thirty-eight local companies benefitted from the challenge, and many were able to expand into new markets thanks to grant support,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Hala Moddelmog. “The opportunity to form new partnerships and develop new collaborations is exactly why the Atlanta MEC is so beneficial to our companies and our region.”

The Atlanta MEP and Atlanta MEC are part of a larger Global Cities Initiative, a joint project between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase to build awareness of the importance of international markets. Atlanta is one of the select cities taking part in the initiative. Global trade matters – 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside of the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, every $1 billion in exports creates 6,000 new jobs in a region.