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Economy League and World Trade Center Launch Exports Initiative

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CONTACT: Josh Sevin
(215) 875-1000, x 112

Federal Grant Helps Advance World Class Business Growth Agenda for Region


Philadelphia, PA - Focusing on a major opportunity for regional job growth, the Economy League and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia today are launching a new initiative to significantly expand global trade for area firms. The two organizations will bring together business, government, and nonprofit leaders to develop an action-oriented metro export plan that draws upon our region’s unique assets and capacities to advance Greater Philadelphia as a hub for global business.


The development of a metro export plan emerged as a top recommended action to boost regional business growth in the World Class Global Positioning Strategy (GPS) released last year as part of the Economy League’s ongoing World Class Greater Philadelphia initiative. Estimates indicate that doubling Greater Philadelphia’s annual export growth rate to bring it in line with competitor metros would generate up to 40,000 new jobs in our region over five years.


“Greater Philadelphia has excellent core assets for exporting – advanced manufacturing and services clusters; a skilled workforce; strong air, port, and rail connections; capable support organizations – yet we lag behind competitor regions on key export indicators,” said Economy League Executive Director Steve Wray. “Now is the perfect time to take a closer look at how we’re performing and advance shared strategies to take our region’s export activity to the next level.”


The Economy League and World Trade Center will lead a coalition of regional partners for a 12-month project to develop and disseminate a customized, data-driven metro export strategy for Greater Philadelphia. A detailed market assessment will be released in summer 2015, setting the stage for completion of a metro export plan by the end of 2015 along with announcement of initial implementation efforts.


“We are thrilled to join forces with the Economy League and other partners to develop a metro export plan that will accelerate growth in our region,” said World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia President Linda Conlin. “This important initiative will build on successful efforts to date and help elevate exporting to its rightful place as a top-of-mind economic development priority for Greater Philadelphia.”


The export initiative is being supported in part by a new U.S. Economic Development Administration grant awarded to the Economy League to advance the World Class Business Growth agenda. The two-year, $200,000 matching grant will also fund in-depth analysis and strategy development for a priority industry sector as well as the formation of a World Class Business Growth Network in the region. This is the EDA’s second award in support of the Economy League’s World Class Greater Philadelphia initiative, following a 2011 grant that assisted with regional priority-setting and creation of the World Class GPSes.


“Thanks to this generous support from the EDA, the Economy League can continue to advance strategic elements of the Business Growth GPS and convene business, civic, government, and philanthropic leaders to move the World Class agenda forward,” said Wray. 


Despite 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, only five percent of U.S. companies export and, among those that do, 58 percent export to only one market. These numbers underscore the significant opportunity for Greater Philadelphia and other U.S. metros to grow by going global. To date, 20 U.S. metros representing 19 percent of the nation’s population have completed or are in the process of development metro export plans to achieve ambitious growth targets.


The Greater Philadelphia metro export initiative will be launched at a World Class Council forum being held on Tuesday, November 18 at Urban Outfitters headquarters at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia. Attendees will hear from Sean Barr of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Council, who will share how San Diego has used a recently completed metro export plan to drive global business. Additional speakers include:


     - Antwaun Griffin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, International Trade Administration

     - Linda Conlin, President, World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia

     - Len Karp, President & CEO, Philadelphia International Medicine

     - Bob Kritzer, Director - International Division, Harold Beck & Sons


WHAT: Launch of New Greater Philadelphia Export Initiative

WHO: Economy League of Greater Philadelphia & World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia

WHEN: Tuesday, November 18, 6:30-8:00pm

WHERE: Urban Outfitters – The Navy Yard, 5000 S. Broad Street, Building 543, Philadelphia

About the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia


The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to ensuring the region's prosperity through analysis and action. We bring together established and emerging leaders to understand the region's challenges and work toward innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.economyleague.org.


About the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia


For the past eleven years, the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP), a member of a worldwide association of centers in 100 countries, has served as a single, powerful source of international business support for the Greater Philadelphia region. The WTCGP offers a range of international trade services and connects members to customers and partners worldwide. To date, the WTCGP has helped companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey generate over $1 billion in export sales. For more information, visit www.wtcphila.org.


About World Class Greater Philadelphia


World Class Greater Philadelphia is a business- and civic-led initiative to advance a shared agenda for regional growth and opportunity in the Philadelphia area. Facilitated by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, the World Class initiative leverages the collective power of the region’s business, nonprofit, government, philanthropic, and community leaders for lasting regional impact in three primary areas: education & talent development, business growth, and infrastructure.