Kane Businesses: Apply Now to Get Up to $10,000 in 2017 Export Grants

Kane Businesses: Apply Now to Get Up to $10,000 in 2017 Export Grants

How would you like $10,000 to grow your export business?

The Metro Chicago Exports Grant Program, presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co., was established two years ago to help small- and mid-sized businesses grow in international trade, specifically through exports. The awards program is open through May 26, 2017, and grants up to $5,000 to businesses throughout Northeastern Illinois.

And once again this year, Kane County is offering businesses a chance to double down.

The Kane County Exports Grant Program is designed to provide an additional incentive: Companies located in Kane County that apply for and are awarded a grant from Metro Chicago Exports are eligible for up to an additional $5,000 from Kane County to reimburse 50 percent of eligible expenses associated with implementing an export plan.

How to Get a Chicago Metro Exports Grant

The 2017 Metro Chicago Grant Program will award up to $5,000 to small and medium-sized companies in the seven-county region to implement an export plan. The grant will reimburse 50 percent of eligible expenses related to the plan.

To be eligible for the grant, your business has to be located in one of the seven counties in the Northern Illinois Region — Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will county — and must be an existing exporter with fewer than 500 employees.

In addition, an authorized representative of the company must certify that the company:
  • Has a valid W-9 form listing company address.
  • Meets the Small Business Administration’s definition of a small business — with under 500 employees.
  • Has been in business for at least one year from the date the application is submitted.
  • Operates profitably, based on domestic operations.
  • Provides a product/service manufactured in metro Chicago or made outside the region from which metro Chicago will derive a significant benefit from increased international sales or investment.
  • Has no legal liabilities which inhibit performance of grant/exporting.
  • Is willing to share results from use of grant funds in the form of survey feedback or success stories.

Businesses must complete and submit an application by May 26, 2017. Applications will not be accepted past this date. Grant winners will be notified of their grant award by June 26, 2017.

The application process involves the online submission of a grant application. Applicants may save the form and complete in more than one sitting. Past Grant Program award recipients are eligible to re-apply and their evaluation will include their prior performance in the grant program.

Metro Chicago Exports’ application process involves two steps: an initial online Client Assessment and a formal Grant Application review of export plans, capabilities and potential. Companies that pass the Client Assessment phase will be invited to submit more comprehensive information about their plans to go global as part of the Grant Application process.

If potential barriers to maximizing export potential are identified during the Grant Application, companies may be referred to export service providers to assist them in formulating international export plans.

You can find out more about the Export Grant and apply by clicking this link.

For more information on the Metro Chicago grant, contact Lisa Reijula, program director, at lreijula@metrochicagoexports.com or by phone at 312-589-5773,

How to Get Kane County’s Match

Businesses located within Kane County are eligible for up to an additional $5,000 per the Kane County Export Grant Matching Funds.

Once you’ve won an MCE grant, MCE will advise Kane County regarding applications which include requests for additional funding from Kane County. In 2016, Kane County award winners were announced in July.

Requests for funding from Kane County will be additionally reviewed by staff with final approval by the Jobs Committee of the Kane County Board.

For more information on the Kane County matching grant, contact Kane County Planner Chris Toth at 630-232-3491 or tothchris@co.kane.il.us.

Previous Kane County Grant Winners

  • AIR802
  • Radco Industries, Inc.
  • Micro Products Company
  • Brasel Products, Inc.
  • InFlight Entertainment Products
  • Riverbank Laboratories, Inc.
  • Miner Elastomer Products Corp.
  • SBS Steel Belt Systems USA
  • Doran Scales
  • Humboldt Manufacturing

Success Story From Kane County

Here’s one of the Kane County success stories posted on the Chicago Metro Exports website.

Riverbank Laboratories

Riverbank Laboratories, Inc. is an aluminum tuning forks manufacturer with deep roots in Geneva, IL. Originally founded in 1913 as a research institute by textile magnate George Fabyan, the company has since evolved thanks to its founder’s passion for acoustics. Riverbank began producing aluminum tuning forks in 1921, and today its team of nine serves the medical, alternative medicine, education and law enforcement markets.

riverbanklogoRiverbank Laboratories continues to serve domestic clients, while also exporting their aluminum tuning forks to international markets. In 2015, the company received a grant from Metro Chicago Exports’ inaugural Grant Program, enabling Riverbank to tackle costs associated with their recent expansion into European markets. The company used the grant funds to finance the creation of a new website, marketing materials and professional product photos, and to attend a medical trade show in Germany. Through the grant, Riverbank was also able to localize product packaging to include CE marking, ultimately leading the company to acquire a new customer and more than double its export volume.

Today, Riverbank Laboratories has customers in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, allowing the company to diversify its revenue and avoid the risks of relying solely on the domestic market’s changing business cycle. Through exporting, the company has been able to boost brand awareness as well as overall sales, helping Riverbank grow in scale. The company has since been able to increase its production volumes and better distribute overhead costs, and has added a full-time equivalent employee to the team.

— May 31, 2016

About Metro Chicago Exports

MCE Grant Banner

Metro Chicago Exports is an unprecedented regional 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 small and medium-sized companies and support regional job growth. By providing resources, information and grant funding, Metro Chicago Exports serves as a conduit to opportunities in the global marketplace and empowers companies to maximize their exporting potential.

Metro Chicago Exports is also part of 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.

For more information, please visit: www.MetroChicagoExports.com.