MPEXA completes second Export Explore Pitch Competition
Awards granted to four small businesses in Greater Phoenix
The Metro Phoenix Export Alliance (MPEXA), an affiliate of the Partnership for Economic Innovation, held the second Export Explore Pitch Competition on November 1, where nine companies competed for a grant award to help the companies engage in increased exports and expand their international reach. The four companies who received the $4,000 awards are: Zero Mass Water, Van Horn Aviation, The Touchpoint Solution and Skin Actives Scientific.
The CEO of Skin Actives Scientific, Jonatan Funtowicz said of the program “there is great demand for American made products around the world. As a small business we have always waited for international customers to come to us. The Metro Phoenix Export Alliance provides the tools, resources and contacts for us to be more proactive in reaching out to potential customers – allowing us to reach new markets in a more controlled and strategic way.”
The grant awards were made possible through philanthropic support provided by JPMorgan Chase to help PEI and MPEXA support small and medium size businesses develop plans for exporting their goods and services. Last year’s award winners were able to use the funds to help support their presence in international trade shows, for travel to meet with potential new partners and even translation services.
The pitch competition included nine companies who applied to present their business case for using the funds. In addition to the monetary award, in-kind contributions have been offered from UPS, Snell & Wilmer, Miller Proctor Law and Spencer Fane, at a value of $3,650 per award recipient, to provide shipping credits and legal services.
Award recipients were matched with graduate students at Thunderbird School of Global Management, who were selected to participate as fellows in the Export Explore Graduate Student Fellowship. This new program – a partnership of MPEXA, Thunderbird Consulting Laboratories and Sun Corridor EDGE, gives Thunderbird graduate students an opportunity to learn alongside Greater Phoenix-based businesses, during which they’ll undertake a six month practicum where they will conduct a strategic research project to advance the companies’ export goals.
“The MPEXA fellowship opportunity is a true win-win for Thunderbird and MPEXA. At Thunderbird we want our global business students to be engaging with the real-world, and the MPEXA companies are navigating global trade at eye-level,” said Charles Reeves, Executive Director of Thunderbird Consulting Laboratories. “Our students are also learning cutting edge global business practices, and it is a design principle of ASU and Thunderbird to share that knowledge with our local community. What better way to do that than to collaborate with our new downtown neighbors MPEXA, who help Phoenix businesses go global.”