The dust is finally settling in the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge, and five companies are still standing in the battle for $35,000 in funding for international sales expansion.
And this year, they’ll have a live audience on hand as they make their case that they deserve to take home individual prizes of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000.
The March 28 event is the final round of the 2017-18 challenge, which is funded by JPMorgan Chase as part of the Brookings Institution’s Global Cities Initiative. The Metro Atlanta Chamber is administering the grant, while UPS and Partnership Gwinnett have also contributed cash or in-kind services.
In February, 16 exporters (all already among the 28 first-round winners of $5,000 grants) appeared before a panel of judges during Pitch Day, hoping to get a shot at even bigger money to help them cover the cost of actions that will boost exports — attending trade shows, translating marketing materials or simply traveling to meet with clients.
The top five stayed alive for the March 28 event, where they’ll present refined pitches for all the marbles. Of the five, three were profiled in Global Atlanta’s recent Export Stories special report, sponsored by the Metro Export Challenge. Stories linked below:
- Dustex (Cobb County)
- GF Health Products (Gwinnett County)
- IronCAD (Cobb County)
- Triatek Holdings (Gwinnett County)
- Winton Machine Company (Gwinnett County)
But only a few of the 16 companies that pitched went home empty-handed. Thanks to UPS, all of the top 10 received $2,500 in shipping credits. That included even those who placed out of the top five:
- CocoaTown (Fulton County)
- J&J Chemical (Oglethorpe County)
- MMJ Labs (Dekalb County)
- Phoenix Green Food (Dekalb County)
- Volantio (Fulton County)
Pitch days are usually closed to the public, but the March 28 event is different. Partnering with Global Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber is for the first time opening up the “shark tank”-style process to a live audience.
Companies — both exporters and those that haven’t yet braved international sales — are encouraged to attend to learn more about the challenge in preparation to apply later this year for the 2018 challenge, which seeks to build a strong cadre of exporters in Metro Atlanta and help existing exporters tap new markets.
The free reception and event will be held at the Metro Atlanta Chamber at 191 Peachtree St. on March 28 at 4:30 p.m.