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Five metro Atlanta companies compete for $35,000 in grants

Metro Business Thought Leaders

Five metro Atlanta companies compete for $35,000 in grants

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Patrick Adcock

Patrick Adcock

By Patrick Adcock

The 2016 Atlanta Metro Export Challenge announced their top five finalists Aug. 20 as part of the JPMorgan Chase-powered Atlanta Metro Export Plan (MEP) grant program designed to help small and medium-sized businesses begin or expand their exporting programs.

Narrowed down from a pool of 14 semifinalists who had previously won $5,000 grants, these five companies will be part of a public voting phase, beginning Aug. 22 and ending Sept. 14. The top three finalists to emerge will move on to a final judging phase and compete to receive a combined $35,000 in additional grants to further increase their export strategies.

A panel of judges comprised of executives from export assistance agencies and local exporting companies chose the top five companies through a “Shark Tank” style semifinals competition. To become one of the top five, each semifinalist gave a presentation on how they leveraged the initial grant to increase their exports. The companies also showcased their exportable product or service and shared a business plan detailing how they will use the additional grant funds.

Through a combination of the judges’ decisions and a public voting phase, the top three contenders will receive $20,000 (1st Place), $10,000 (2ndPlace) and $5,000 (3rd Place).

The top five finalists include:

Rich Cavagnaro

Rich Cavagnaro

AdEdge Water Technologies – President and CEO Rich Cavagnaro presented AdEdge’s continuing work in providing American technologies at local prices around the world. AdEdge would use their grant money to export water treatment solutions to other countries such as India.

Zaheer Furuqi (left) Talha Furuqi (right)

Zaheer Furuqi (left) Talha Furuqi (right)

 

 

Aventure Aviation – The father and son team of Zaheer and Talha Furuqi hope to bring their leading aftermarket aviation parts to places around the world, such as China and Ireland, as well as increase visibility of the Aventure Aviation brand internationally.

Suman Das

Suman Das

 

DDM Systems – Presented by Founder and CEO Suman Das, DDM is a startup specializing in 3D printing materials used in jet engines. DDM’s primary goal with the grant money is to expand awareness of their patented technology into European markets.

 

 

Kevin Jameson

Kevin Jameson

Pure Air Filtration – President Kevin Jameson of Pure Air Filtration donned lederhosen to give his company’s pitch. With the grant money, Jameson wants to increase the filtration technology manufacturer’s European brand awareness.  

 

 

Karol Hatzilias

Karol Hatzilias

United Sciences – Karol Hatzilias is co-founder and CSO of United Sciences, a manufacturer providing precision 3D scanning technologies and services. The grant money would allow the company to create more engagement with overseas customers.

 

 

The Judges:

From left to right: Michael Weiss (president and CEO, The WorkingBuildings), Yelena Epova (partner, Habif, Arogeti & Wynn), Tom Strauss (southern regional director, U.S. Department of Commerce), Mary Waters (deputy commissioner of international trade, Georgia Department of Economic Development), and Jeff Lamb (president, OptiLedge LLC).

From left to right: Michael Weiss (president and CEO, The WorkingBuildings), Yelena Epova (partner, Habif, Arogeti & Wynn), Tom Strauss (southern regional director, U.S. Department of Commerce), Mary Waters (deputy commissioner of international trade, Georgia Department of Economic Development), and Jeff Lamb (president, OptiLedge LLC).

This competition is one initiative being used to increase global trade in the region and the state, which is critical for spurring economic growth. The Atlanta Metro Export Plan (MEP) is implemented by 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 as well as public and private organizations. The MEP is a product of Atlanta’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative (“GCI”), a joint project of The Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase that aims to help leaders in U.S. metropolitan areas reorient their economics toward greater engagement in world markets.

Visit the MEP Challenge website to place your vote for the companies.

What are your thoughts?