Kane County exports
Exports connect metropolitan economies with a growing global consumer base and support more sustainable economic growth. Metropolitan Chicago exported $43.9 billion of goods in 2016 -- a 50 percent increase over ten years and the fifth highest regional exports in the nation. Since 2015, Kane County has expanded local export activity by providing a boost of additional funding to companies that receive grants from Metro Chicago Exports. This regional export-growth initiative -- a collaboration of northeastern Illinois’ seven counties (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will) and the city of Chicago -- helps small and medium-sized businesses begin exporting to targeted foreign markets or expand their existing trade networks.
Metro Chicago Exports -- now programmed by the Chicago Regional Growth Corporation – has multiple initiatives to bolster global economic connections with the region’s businesses. Its grant program has strengthened export networks in numerous industries including construction, digital media, energy, manufacturing, and technology solutions. It also helps companies develop strategic export plans and hosts annual pitch fests during which participants are eligible for additional funding totaling $30,000.
Kane County is the only county to date to encourage more businesses to seek export grants by offering up to $5,000 in matching funds, using tax revenue from the Elgin Grand Victoria Riverboat already set aside for economic development. Doing so allows Kane County to amplify the reach of an existing pilot program without setting up additional administration and new criteria. Such grants help companies offset business development costs associated with trade missions, international regulatory compliance, and marketing tools. For example, Riverbank Laboratories, Inc. -- an aluminum tuning forks manufacturer with nine employees in Geneva, IL -- used such funding to expand its marketing and sales in Europe, ultimately doubling its export volume. InFlight Entertainment Products -- a leading supplier to the global aviation industry based in Carpentersville, IL -- used the grant to grow its international customer base among European airlines.