Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.16.26 PMMetro Atlanta leaders today announced the launch of the Atlanta Metro Export Plan (MEP), a strategic initiative to stimulate economic growth in the region by creating quality jobs through exports. As part of this announcement, JPMorgan Chase presented a check for $300,000 to the Atlanta MEP program to help small and medium-sized businesses increase their export capacity.

The launch includes a published report that outlines strategies to increase exports and a new website,, with resources for small and medium-sized businesses to begin exporting or grow their current export activities.

Mayor Kasmi Reed, Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris CarrMetro Atlanta Chamber President & CEO Hala Moddelmog and JPMorgan Chase Georgia Market Leader David Balos were on hand to announce the new plan and outlined the importance of how exports support economic development in metro Atlanta.

“Export promotion is critical to economic development in Georgia,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “Our state’s international trade activity impacts our communities, grows businesses and creates jobs. The Metro Export Plan is a primary example of how collaboration among public and private sectors and state and local leaders brings real benefit and trade opportunities to the business community here.”

Exports are shown to add jobs to regional economies. The International Trade Administration reports that for every $1 billion generated in exports, an additional 5,800 new jobs are created. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers located outside the U.S., the potential for growing exports is tremendous.

Metro Atlanta is one of the nation’s largest economies yet it is under-exporting. White it has the 10th largest GDP in the United States and is the 13th largest exporter with an estimated $25.5 billion of goods and services exported in 2012, Atlanta ranks 75th among the nation’s 100 largest metros for export intensity – or exports as a percentage of economic output.

The Atlanta MEP will be implemented by multiple organizations, including the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the City of Atlanta working in partnership with several other regional and local economic development agencies, public and private organizations.

The Atlanta MEP Steering Committee will launch an application program later this summer with a formal call for applications via The grants, administered as part of the Atlanta Export Grant program, will target small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to begin exporting or increase their export programs.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.