ATLANTA -- Mayor Kasim Reed was joined by metro Atlanta leaders today to announce 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, https://cp.mcafee.com/d/avndxMwrhopppsh79TdTdILff9Iec6SnDDATQm3rbPPOr3zxJ6XZTDzhOqerI6VQ9NGJgDafwGfWveiLQlZ2mYKrz-DPAHZ5vgBLbCNPa3XHzX_nVwQsK8LLIZuVtd5x7ArI3C3hO-zORQr8EGTjpVkffGhBrwqrpdEICXYyMCY-ehojd79KVIFMxc_ojQq3RGNC5GNDF_bCM1aXivN1mPfS4Z8XN6FASM-OUOr4Fjb6y2HFEw49DX2uw6q80A896y0rQJm9Ew0Hqild40b_Q3h1I43h02_8OH3jPh05vR3UQd40lRK5ypEw6_D6GRjVjS1Ew6wZqIpCy0b7X0Qg6PhOyrXS6-, with resources for small and medium-sized businesses to begin exporting or grow their current export activities. Mayor 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. "I am proud to join leaders from our region to launch this critical initiative, which will help the City of Atlanta and the surrounding area continue to grow," said Mayor Reed. "Ensuring local companies and entrepreneurs greater access to overseas markets will strengthen our economy by adding jobs and facilitating innovation." "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 amongthe nation's 100 largest metros for export intensity - or exports as a percentage of economic output. This opportunity gap is one of the primary reasons metro Atlanta is participating in MEP. The findings from the market assessment revealed that nearly half of metro Atlanta's export mix is comprised of service industries, including financial services, transportation services and information technology. The findings also showed that many companies do not have the relationships or connections in foreign markets to grow their exports. The Atlanta MEP addresses these challenges with a new online portal that will provide a directory of service providers and local experts with connections to specific industries and markets. The full Metro Export Plan is available here. "We know that when companies grow exports, they grow jobs, and there is a real opportunity for our regional companies to cultivate job growth by increasing their exports," said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber. "We also know that many small and medium-sized businesses do not know how to get started or where to go for help with exporting. The MEP will provide a toolkit for these companies to give them confidence and the resources to grow their businesses through international sales." The plan is the culmination of a year-long process conducted under the region's participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative helps business and civic leaders grow their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness. GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating its Exchange, a peer learning network. As part of the Exchange, Atlanta is working to create and implement new international trade and investment strategies. "JPMorgan Chase is proud to be a part of the development of Atlanta's export plan and to support innovative planning that will lead to our region's future economic success," said David Balos, JPMorgan Chase. "International trade and investment is a great pathway for local businesses to create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy, and we need representation from all sectors of our diverse economy to maximize this opportunity." 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. According to the Brookings Institution, metropolitan areas are best equipped to drive and implement metro export plans because they can readily coordinate regional assets to support global trade and are committed to making exports a part of their regional economic strategies. "With this export plan, Metro Atlanta is acting on what our research shows is untapped potential to grow the region's economy and support higher-quality jobs," said Marek Gootman, Brookings Director of Strategic Partnerships and Global Initiatives. "Metro Atlanta is now is among a small group of U.S. and international metro areas with a comprehensive, tailored strategy to help firms pursue global market opportunities. This type of intense focus and collaboration among business, government and civic leaders is proving to yield tangible results."