Metro Chicago Exports Launches Small Business Grant Program

CHICAGO – Metro Chicago Exports (MCE) today announced the launch of a Grant Program to help small- to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow in international trade, specifically through export initiatives. The $225,000 program, funded by JPMorgan Chase, will award grants up to $5,000 to businesses throughout Northeastern Illinois. The Metro Chicago Exports Grant Program is an unprecedented collaboration between the seven counties in Northeastern Illinois (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will) and the City of Chicago to increase exports from SMEs. Eligible SMEs with an exportable product or service can apply for the grant to help take their business offering to the rest of the world. Approximately 50 grants are open through the first wave of funding, which closes on May 31st. “Chicago is the nation’s fourth largest exporter, but only 6 percent of that comes from small-to-medium- sized businesses,” said Thomas Hulseman, managing director of Metro Chicago Exports. “Small businesses are the core of our economy. Providing opportunities that help connect Chicago businesses and their products to the rest of the world offers tremendous opportunity to improve our global competitiveness.” Metro Chicago Exports builds on the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, that aims to catalyze a shift in economic development priorities and practices resulting in more globally connected metropolitan areas and more sustainable economic growth. “JPMorgan Chase works with more than a quarter of a million small-to-medium-sized businesses in Northeast Illinois,” said Melissa Bean, Chairman of the Midwest, JPMorgan Chase. “With 80 percent of global growth anticipated to happen outside the U.S. in the next decade, improved access to foreign markets is critical to their success. JPMorgan Chase is proud to provide grant support toward this goal through Metro Chicago Exports.” The application period will consist of two waves. The first wave deadline is May 31st, 2015 and the second wave deadline is July 31st, 2015. All eligible SMEs are encouraged to apply, but preference will be given to businesses in the following targeted industries:
  • Metals – Fabricated Metal Products
  • Equipment – Medical and Supplies
  • Machinery – Engine and Power Equipment
  • Plastics – General
  • Computers and Electronics – Precision Instruments