Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement
Click here to read a synopsis of the BEAM region Global Trade and Investment Plan.
The Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM) is a regional initiative led by the cities of Louisville and Lexington to increase exports and foreign direct investment. Launched by the mayors of Louisville and Lexington in 2011, partners include local, state, and federal organizations working together to increase local firms’ access to foreign markets and connect with foreign companies investing in the U.S. BEAM is a member of the Brookings Global Cities Exchange, a select group of cities that has completed a rigorous analysis and planning process to maximize exports and FDI performance in the coming years.
Research shows that exporting firms—whether manufacturing or services--grow faster, can afford to pay their workers better, and withstand economic downturns better than non-exporting firms. About 90% of Kentucky’s exporters are small and mid-sized firms (SMEs), most with fewer than 20 employees. Yet, many of these firms do not export as much as they could. Many more SMEs don’t export at all.
To ensure a long and healthy future, U.S. firms—and Kentucky firms—need to fully participate in global opportunities. Global consumption spending is set to more than double by 2035. More than 80% of this growth in spending is happening outside the U.S. and Europe.
BEAM is working hard to support firms that want to grow through export development. In 2014, companies throughout the region helped meet the Mayors’ goal to increase export successes among BEAM SMEs by 50% in five years. This goal was achieved in just three years, thanks in part to a generous award from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation that provided grants to future and current exporters. Now the Mayors have set a new goal to increase export successes among SMEs in four years. Once again, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation is committed to helping make this goal a reality.
The BEAM International 2.0 Export Promotion Grant is made possible by a generous award from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Qualifying firms can receive up to $5,000 to prepare for exporting activity, identify new sales opportunities, purchase market research, participate in meetings, trade shows, and trade missions, and more.