ORBATL, a regional partnership of public and private leaders that enables businesses to grow in the global economy, announced the winners of the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge (Atlanta MEC). The Atlanta MEC is a grant program designed to engage small- and medium-sized businesses in metro Atlanta in the development of international sales plans. Thirty companies were selected in the competition and will each receive a grant of $5,000 to apply towards the growth of their international business.

Companies from all over the 29-county region, ranging in size from pre-revenue startups to small and established medium-sized businesses, applied to the program. The 30 grant winners represent a wide array of industries, including traditional and advanced manufacturing, bioscience & healthcare, professional services, food and beverage, and technology companies. Woman-owned and minority-owned businesses are again strongly represented.

Seven Gwinnett companies were honored, including:
• AeroSafe Products, Inc
• AKESOgen, Inc.
• Black Mermaid’s Handcrafted Soaps & Products d/b/ Black Mermaid’s Bath & Body
• Discover Destinations
• LTL IT
• MuniRem Environmental, LLC
• Tecme Corporation

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

The Atlanta MEC is one of many tools ORBATL uses to engage small- and medium-sized companies in metro Atlanta in the development of their international business. Over the last two years, the program has given out more than $400,000 to metro Atlanta companies thanks to the generous sponsorship of JPMorgan Chase & Co, which again contributed $100,000 to this year’s program. Additional sponsorship came from the Metro Atlanta Chamber, UPS, Johnson Controls and Partnership Gwinnett.

“JPMorgan Chase is pleased to help metro Atlanta businesses grow in the international economy,” said David Balos, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Banking group in Georgia. “These grants will help companies spend time in their target markets to meet with distributors, partners, and potential customers. Seeing metro Atlanta companies grow their international business will consequently lead to job creation and growth of the metro Atlanta economy.”

A recent survey among participants in the grant program shows that more than half of the surveyed companies successfully exported to new markets and the majority of the companies were able to secure new distributors or partners in international markets.

Promoting participation from small businesses will help boost metro Atlanta’s exports. To date, the region ranks 65th 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 Atlanta MEC is being implemented by multiple organizations, including the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the City of Atlanta and Partnership Gwinnett working in partnership with several other regional and local economic development organizations, and public and private agencies.

“Partnership Gwinnett is proud to partner with ORBATL in this important initiative,” said Nick Masino, Chief Economic Development Office at Partnership Gwinnett. “Exports are an integral part of economic success and we are excited for Gwinnett and the metro Atlanta region’s continued international growth.”