Metro Chicago Exports and The State of Illinois assist businesses in growing. Grants are available, and in certain instances, can be used attend trade shows outside of the United States Metro Chicago Exports 2016 Grant Program is now accepting applications through May 27, 2016.
Small and medium-sized companies located in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties that are existing exporters or new-to-export with fewer than 500 employees are encouraged to apply. The single-round 2016 Grant Program will award up to $5,000 to small and medium-sized companies in the seven-county region to reimburse 50% of eligible expenses associated with implementing an export plan. In fall 2016, Metro Chicago Exports will host a pitch fest during which both 2015 and 2016 grant recipients will be eligible to submit a pitch for additional funding. Information about the pitch fest will be shared at a later date. Kick-off your Metro Chicago Exports 2016 Grant Program application by completing the form. Companies that pass the Client Assessment phase will then be invited to submit more comprehensive information about their plans to go global. For more information about the Metro Chicago Exports 2016 Grant Program visit the website. The State of Illinois is a national leader in providing export assistance to its business community. It was among the first states to organize a network of foreign trade offices and regional export assistance centers across the state. Based in Chicago, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Trade and Investment is staffed by Senior International Trade Specialists who are ready to partner with you to help you develop and implement your export marketing plan. The 10 regional foreign trade offices bring local market experience and expertise to assist Illinois companies in developing the relationships necessary for successful export partnerships. The foreign offices also provide assistance including market research, trade show support, matchmaking, and logistics. The Office of Trade and Investment provides Illinois’ small and medium sized businesses with the technical and financial assistance they need to succeed in the global marketplace. The ISTEP program, Illinois’ premier export assistance program, facilitated 195 company exporting projects to 34 unique country markets in 2015. These projects range from sales missions to compliance objectives. In total these company missions generated over $5 million dollars in onsite sales revenue and estimated over $126 million dollars in future sales revenue. ISTEP applications are accepted on an ongoing first come first serve basis. There are 4 ways that our office, through ISTEP, can help you grow your export business.
Individual Foreign Market Sales Missions: We can provide a grant for individual company tradeshow participation or B2B matchmaking services. OTI can reimburse 25 – 75% for exhibit and travel costs, for one traveler, up to $7500.
Group Trade Missions: For target markets and industries OTI lead trade missions provide: booth space, travel, logistics, matchmaking, and briefings. We cover 100% of exhibit costs and provide reimbursement of 25 – 75% of travel costs for two travelers up to $5000.
Product Certification: If your product or processes need certifications, like CE or ISO 9001, to enter a foreign market, an ISTEP grant can help cover 50% of the cost, up to $3000.
Marketing Assistance: Financial Assistance is available for website development targeting a specific foreign market. It includes translation and site development for country specific branding. An ISTEP grant can cover 50% of the cost up to $3000.