Detroit Economic Growth Corp. Launches Program to Help Detroit Businesses Develop Export Strategy

Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC), a quasi-public development agency, today announced the launch of “Built in Detroit.” The goal of the program is to support companies competing in the global economy.

As the first of its kind program in the city, Built in Detroit offers signature programs for local businesses. ExporTech, the first of these programs, is a national export assistance program that helps companies enter or expand in global markets.

“Built in Detroit is focused on connecting local companies to global market opportunities,” says Sandra Choi, senior business development manager of DEGC. “With trade and foreign direct investment being inextricably linked through global value chains, Detroit’s work with the regional trade community also sets an important foundation for its foreign direct investment attraction work.”

ExporTech, which begins today, is a structured export strategy and business development process that plans to assist eight local Michigan technology and manufacturing companies. The program will run for 10 weeks where strategic plans for export growth will be developed and participants will connect with a range of experts to catalyze international sales.

The program will conclude with the opportunity for participants to present their strategies to a panel of experienced exporters. In hopes of enabling businesses who have graduated from the program to continue consulting with one another, an additional aim is to create an international trade ecosystem.

Nearly 40 percent of those participating in ExporTech are minority, women-owned, multigenerational firms that have been operating in Detroit for several decades up to 100 years.  

“We have deep roots in the city, and are proud to be a quality employer and serve as an example of success,” says Jana K. Brownell, president, CEO, and owner of Kirlin Lighting Co. “Through ExporTech, we look forward to learning how to properly assess international opportunities and put in place the systems and processes to expand our international division within our company, which would be significant for our organization, our employees, and our home, the city of Detroit.”

Working with Michigan Economic Development Corp., U.S. Commercial Service, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and Saginaw Valley State University, the DEGC will work to assist participants with international market research, best practices regarding international exports, and work one-on-one with the businesses to develop their international sales strategies.

“The U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service in Michigan is thrilled to bring the ExporTech program to the city of Detroit for the first time, thanks to the support of the DEGC,” says Eve Lerman, senior international trade specialist, U.S. Commercial Service. “ExporTech is a national program developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce to help companies build export sales and create jobs.”

DEGC is led by a board comprised of business, civic, labor, and community leaders. Its staff provides services for public authorities that offer tax credits and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs or economic activity to the city. DEGC also manages initiatives to support small businesses, such as Motor City Match and Motor City Re- Store, and offers programs for existing businesses to enter into the global market, like Built in Detroit.