LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) — The JPMorgan Chase Foundation today awarded $200,000 to create the BEAM-Kentucky Export Promotion Program.
BEAM, the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement, is a regional economic growth partnership between Louisville and Lexington that encompasses 22 counties.
The newly launched, BEAM-Kentucky Export Promotion program will offer grants up to $4,500 for the purpose of connecting small businesses in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to export and business development resources. Eligibility requirements and applications are available at www.lexingtonky.gov/beam.
“We are grateful to JPMorgan Chase, who shares our vision to build a world class manufacturing hub here in Central Kentucky,” said Mayor Jim Gray. “This program targets small businesses, working with them to become powerful exports of Kentucky goods. That’s how jobs are created, and we are excited to help make that happen.”
In 2012, Gray and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer launched a goal to increase export successes by 50 percent in five years, measuring the number of companies that begin selling outside of the United States for the first time and/or the number of new countries to which companies begin selling. There have been 327 export successes counted to date out of the 290 needed to meet the goal for the end of 2013.
The grant 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, President of the Kentucky Chase Bank.
The BEAM Regional Export plan also was released today. This plan outlines activities such as targeted outreach, trainings for economic development professionals and promoting the sale 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, S.C.; Chicago, Ill.; Columbus, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, Calif.; and Tampa Bay, Fl.
“This unique and innovative program will support the growth of small businesses here in Louisville and around the region,” 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 addition to the award, it was announced that the Louisville-Lexington region has been selected to participate in the Global Cities Exchange, a new program of the Global Cities Initiative: A Join Project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, that will serve as 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 also host a Global Cities forum in June 2014.
Applications for the BEAM Export Promotion grant are available at lexingtonky.gov/beam. A copy of the regional export plan is also available.