Utah businesses can now obtain up to $10,000 in grant money for their international expansion efforts thanks to the new Utah Export Acceleration Grant program, which was announced at the Winter Innovation Summit and is funded by a $200,000 contribution from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The grants will provide Utah companies with funding to help offset the costs associated with global expansion and will be managed by WTC Utah. Funds from the program must be used to pay for services or resources that help the awardee's company grow internationally. Examples of services/resources that would qualify include legal and consulting work, money to conduct international market research, help covering the cost of translation services or funding to attend a trade mission.
Applications are available online at wtcutah.com. Submissions will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, so a business interested in receiving funding can apply any time over the next year. Funding amounts will be determined based upon a company's specific needs related to its international expansion.
A detailed plan for how the money will be used must be outlined in the application to be eligible for the grant. All companies that receive a grant have the option to compete in a pitch competition at the end of the year to potentially receive additional funding.
In announcing the grant program, WTC Utah President and CEO Derek Miller said, "JPMorgan Chase & Co. selected Utah to receive funding because of its strong, emerging economy and large number of small-to-medium-sized businesses. Companies in Utah are well positioned for international expansion, and this grant will provide the means for them to get the help they need."
Craig Zollinger, managing director for JPMorgan Chase in Salt Lake City, noted: "We support initiatives that provide opportunities for businesses striving to take their products and services to international markets. It's this type of grant that can transform small businesses and we view this as a critical step in providing a successful framework as it relates to export acceleration."
World Trade Center Utah and Salt Lake County previously worked with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Brookings Institution on the Global Cities Initiative (GCI). The outcome of GCI was a plan to increase exports in the Salt Lake metro area. The Utah Export Acceleration grant will be an important part of accomplishing this goal.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said the county is primed for a new era of economic development, which includes focusing on global opportunities. He anticipates the generous grant will help kick-start the county's regional export plan and will lead to more hiring by businesses that are serving global customers.
International business is an important part of the Utah's economy. According to WTC Utah data, the state exported $13.3 billion worth of goods in 2015 and is ranked fourth in the nation for export growth.