The Metro Atlanta Chamber this summer and fall is bringing back a contest that gives local companies a chance to win up to $25,000 to juice their overseas sales efforts.
Supported with $100,000 from JPMorgan Chase and additional funding and in-kind support from United Parcel Service Inc. ($25,000 and shipping credits) and Partnership Gwinnett ($5,000) the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge aims to help local companies develop proactive export plans and craft strategies to act on them.
The chamber last year partnered with Global Atlanta on an event announcing the challenge’s 38 first-round winners, who all took home $5,000.
A similar format will be used this year, but the first round will have 25 reimbursable grant winners, and they won’t be guaranteed a full $5,000. Applications are due May 19. A later “Shark Tank”-style pitch session will enable three first-round winners to take home additional grants of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. Watch videos of last year’s finalists here
The event seems to combine the MEC with a similar pitch-session event UPS hosted last year.
“Our priority is to foster trade and help companies expand globally,” said Bill Seward, U.S. international president at UPS, who will be on the selection committee. “We help small business owners and entrepreneurs with customized solutions to help grow their business and revenue while reducing costs.”
On May 9, companies interested in applying can attend a networking and story swap event put on by the chamber and Global Atlanta at Red Brick Brewing Co.
[pullquote]The Metro Export Challenge Kickoff event May 9 at Red Brick is free and includes a tour of the brewery, tastings, food and a souvenir pint glass.[/pullquote]
The chamber has played up stories of how the companies have used the money creatively over the last year. Some used the cash to attend trade shows, make overseas client visits or internationalize their websites.
With the first $5,000 grant last year, Red Brick itself deepened its nascent export base by establishing a distributor partnership in South Korea. Collaborating with partners on the ground, the craft brewer formulated a special Belgian-style wheat beer under its Laughing Skull brand specifically for the Korean palate. Red Brick’s Robert Fabbrini will share that story at the May 9 event.
Kevin Jameson, whose company PureAir Filtration won the $10,000 second-place prize at the pitch competition, said at the chamber’s Global Impact Awards this week that the company generated more than 100 qualified leads when attending the HanoverMesse trade show using the company’s total $15,000 in grant funds. Previously, this major show had been cost prohibitive for the small manufacturer.
AdEdge Technologies was nominated as one of five pitch-day finalists but didn’t get one of the larger grants. Still, the company noted in its followup application that it had used the first $5,000 to build contacts in India, a key potential market for filtration systems that remove arsenic from the water supply.
Learn more about the Atlanta MEC and fill out the initial export readiness assessment at www.atlantaexportportal.com.
Sign up to attend the informational event at Red Brick here.
Exporters (both of goods and services), economic developers, service providers and others are welcome. The event is free and includes a tour of the brewery, tastings, food and a souvenir pint glass.