JPMorgan Chase Foundation announces partnership to grow exports - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JPMorgan Chase Foundation announces partnership to grow Kentucky exports

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement, in partnership with the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, announced Monday morning a new program aimed at growing exports in the 22 counties that comprise the greater Louisville-Lexington region.

The BEAM-Kentucky Export Promotion Program is funded with a $200,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase and will offer grants worth up to $4,500 for the purpose of connecting small businesses in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to export products and develop business resources.

"This unique and innovative program will support the growth of small businesses here in Louisville and around the region," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "By diversifying and expanding customer bases, small businesses are more likely to last through generations, employ more people and become bigger companies."

In 2012, Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray set a goal to increase export successes by 50 percent in five years, which is measured by the number of companies that begin selling out of the United States for the first time, expand sales within existing international markets, or sell to new markets. There have been 327 export successes to date, exceeding the 290 needed to meet the goal for 2013.

"Today's award from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation will continue to support efforts to reach this goal, and provide our small businesses with the encouragement they need to take the next step and grow into foreign markets," said Paul Costel, market president for Chase in Kentucky.

As part of today's announcement, The BEAM Regional Export Plan was also released. This plan outlines activities such as targeted outreach, training seminars for economic development professionals and promotion of Kentucky-made products to the world. All of these efforts have contributed to increasing exports around the region.

The Regional Export Plan was produced after Louisville and Lexington were selected to participate in the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Export Exchange along with seven other cities including: Charleston, SC; Chicago; Columbus, OH; Des Moines, IA; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; and Tampa Bay, FL.

"The culmination of these efforts has resulted in this unprecedented award from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation which will continue to strengthen small businesses and help them compete in the 21st century economy," Mayor Gray said.

In November, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation announced funding to create the Brookings Global Cities Initiative, a four-year learning and action network in which regions will develop and implement strategies to boost global trade and investment. The Louisville/Lexington, BEAM region will continue with this work and will host a Global Cities meeting with the Brookings Institution on June 25 and 26, 2014.

Applications and eligibility requirements for the BEAM Kentucky Export Promotion grant are available at www.louisvilleky.gov/beam. The regional export plan is also available there.

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