Chicago Regional Growth Corporation’s export programs offer insights, resources, and referrals to help small and medium-sized companies in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties maximize their export potential. Serving as a conduit to opportunities in the global marketplace, CRGC is focused on increasing exports and supporting regional job growth.

Created by the Chicago Regional Growth Initiative’s working group in September 2014 under the name Metro Chicago Exports, CRGC Export is a strategic economic development program and is part of the region’s broader business retention and expansion strategy. Our program is a component of the metro Chicago area’s export development plan in conjunction with the Global Cities Initiative – a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, which helps leaders in U.S. metropolitan areas reorient their economies toward greater engagement in world markets.

Metro Chicago Exports has also partnered with other leading Illinois-based and national organizations to help facilitate exporting.

Our organization recently began collaboration with the Regional Export Promotion Program (REPP) which brings state, county, and local nonprofit economic development entities together with the Export-Import Bank of the United States with a focus on increasing awareness of export opportunities.

Metro Chicago Exports has also signed Memorandums of Understanding with the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Illinois Manufacturing Center of Excellence (IMEC).

CRGC Programs

Which CRGC export program matches your company?

CRGC Export Grant Program

The CRGC Export Grant Program awards up to $5,000 to small and medium-sized companies in Northeastern Illinois to implement their export plan. The grant reimburses 50% of eligible expenses related to the plan. 


ExporTech is the only national program that helps companies develop an export plan. The series of three full-day sessions spread over ten weeks efficiently connects companies with local and national experts to navigate the export sales process. On average, participating companies generate $770K in new export sales. Each series is limited to no more than eight companies, who work with a coach and receive customized market research.

Export Pitch Competitions

Export Pitch Competitions provide an opportunity for small and medium-sized companies throughout the region to pitch their plans for going global and compete for prizes. The grand prize winner typically receives $5,000 and an equal amount of international shipping credits.

Exporting offers great potential for companies, but the process of getting started can be difficult to navigate. Here you will find answers to some of the most common questions about exporting.

Our 2016 Grant Program invited small and medium-sized companies located in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties to apply through May 27, 2016. The single-round 2016 Grant Program awarded up to $5,000 to small and medium-sized companies in the seven-county region to reimburse 50% of eligible expenses associated with implementing an export plan. While applications for our 2016 Grant Program have closed, both existing exporters and new-to-export companies are invited to complete the Metro Chicago Exports Client Assessment form so we can determine how best to support your organization with maximizing its exporting potential. For more information about the 2016 Grant Program, visit our Grant Program page.

Our Export Roadmap will take you step-by-step through the export process. Not only will it connect you with organizations that can offer support, it will provide you with templates and recommendations that will help maximize your exporting potential.

We encourage you to check out our Resources page to learn more about the organizations and businesses that help companies like yours export to dozens of international markets.