Milwaukee 7 launches export grant program

Wisconsin exports

The Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership has announced a new grant program to assist exporters.Exporting

The Export Development Grant Program is made possible by JPMorgan Chase, which has pledged $200,000 to the effort.

Both new and experienced small- and medium-sized exporters are eligible for the grants, which are to assist with entering new markets by accessing resources, overcoming obstacles and seizing on international opportunities. The grants are provided as matching fund of up to $5,000 per company. The program will accept about 20 companies in the first year.

Companies can apply for a grant through Dec. 31 at

Chad Hoffman will serve as export development manager at M7, and will manage the grant program.

Southeastern Wisconsin’s economy produces about $100 billion in total economic output, only 16 percent of which is from exports, Hoffman said.

“Our goal is identify companies who are not exporting to their full potential and help them enter new markets,” explained Hoffman. “Navigating the available programs can be daunting, however, we are committed to providing companies with the most appropriate information for their current situation.  The Export Development Grant Program is another tool to help grow the region’s exports.”

JPMorgan Chase and the Brookings Institution partnered on the Export Development Grant Program through their Global Cities Initiative project, which selects best practices from other Global Cities to create the most efficient and helpful program possible to Milwaukee’s exporters.

“Increasing the number of companies in the region that export is a huge opportunity for southeast Wisconsin,” said Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive officer of WEC Energy Group and a Milwaukee 7 co-chair. “We know that the majority of economic growth comes from companies already located in the region and through exporting, businesses can grow faster and sustain that growth.”

“The Milwaukee Region has a great story to tell – and outstanding products to share – with the world. Our economy is uniquely well-suited to exporting, with a strong base of manufacturers. These companies tend to provide high-value, high-wage jobs for our citizens, and we need more of them,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who is also an M7 co-chair.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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