The Kane County Jobs Committee is proposing a pilot program that would sweeten the pot for Kane County companies seeking to start or expand their export business.
Under a proposed pilot program, Kane County would give a $5,000 matching grant to up to 10 businesses that apply for and are approved to receive a $5,000 micro-grant from Chicago Metro Exports, a public-private economic development initiative created through a consortium of seven Chicago-area counties.
As a result, a Kane County business could land $10,000, which it can use for marketing, compliance (government paperwork), training or business development. Jobs Committee chairs Becky Gillam and Theresa Barreiro suggested the pilot program as a way to get more Kane County businesses to apply.
“The micro-grants are a wonderful opportunity for the county to support our Kane business community and their efforts to expand into new markets,” Gillam said. “We want to encourage as many businesses as we can to participate, because expanded exports often translates to job growth.”
JPMorgan Chase is providing funding for the $5,000 micro-grants for 50 companies throughout the region to increase exports. In the first round of applications, 10 Kane County companies applied and were initially assessed, six were confirmed eligible and three completed applications. Applications for second round are due July 31 — so there’s still time for Kane County businesses to participate.
Small- and mid-size enterprises that are existing exporters or new to exporting, with less than 500 employees and located in Northeastern Illinois, are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to the following targeted industries:
- Metals – Fabricated Metal Products
- Equipment – Medical Equipment and Supplies
- Machinery – Engine and Power Equipment
- Plastics – General
- Computers and Electronics – Precision Instruments
Questions can be directed to Kelsey Schrenk, Program Manager, at (312) 589-5773.
If approved by the full Kane County Board, funding for the $5,000 matching funds would come from Grand Victoria Riverboat funds previously allocated for economic development. The existing funds were for a staff position that was not filled. The original Riverboat resolution adopted in 1993 includes the objective “to fund and promote the development of small business.”