Indy Chamber Pitches Regional Export Strategy to General Assembly

Indy Chamber News Archives

Former Lt. Governor Kathy Davis presents Metro Indy Export Plan to Small Business Caucus, touts global opportunities for Hoosier employers

INDIANAPOLIS April 8, 2015 – The Indy Chamber hosted a briefing on Wednesday to share its Metro Indianapolis Export Plan with the General Assembly’s Small Business Caucus, highlighting the potential growth opportunities for smaller Hoosier employers with international customers.

In 2014, Indiana exported a record-setting $35.5 billion in goods; nearly $15 billion originated from the Indianapolis metropolitan area, ranking 21st among the nation’s 388 metro regions.  This success comes despite the fact that nine of every 10 Indy companies are not exporters.  The Indy Chamber, in partnership with the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, has developed a comprehensive export strategy that includes a support system for small- and mid-sized enterprises exploring international markets.

“This initiative fundamentally changes our toolkit for regional economic development,” said Michael Huber, president and CEO of the Indy Chamber. “By shifting our economic strategy to a global approach, we will be able to expand the resources available to companies looking to tap into the international marketplace and meet the high demand for U.S. goods and services." 

The Metro Export Plan was developed with the support of the Brookings Institution’s Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase & Co.  Al Smith, Chairman of Chase in Indiana, was on hand today to discuss the plan with legislators.

“As a global firm, JPMorgan Chase has first-hand experience with the tremendous economic growth taking place around the world,” said Smith.  “Since 80% of global GDP growth will occur outside the U.S. in the next decade, we think the Metro Indy export plan is critical for our regional economy and we are proud to support the initiative.”

Former Indiana Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis presented an overview of the Export Plan during the briefing, held at the Statehouse South Atrium.  Davis helped create the plan as part of the regional team, working with the Indy Chamber’s economic development unit and partners at IUPUI, Butler University and others.  As Lieutenant Governor, Davis led the state’s international economic development efforts; before entering public service, she spent nearly a decade with Cummins Engine, one of Indiana’s largest exporters.

“The value of Indiana’s exports have more than tripled over the last twenty years, and today global trade supports the jobs of more than 100,000 Hoosiers,” Davis noted.  “But we’re missing the vast potential of thousands of companies that aren’t selling into international markets.” 

The Small Business Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Terri Austin (D – Anderson) and Thomas Dermody (R – LaPorte), is a bipartisan group of lawmakers focused on the interests of Indiana’s smaller employers.  Nearly 95 percent of Indiana companies have less than 50 employees; more than 70 percent have 10 or fewer employees.

“We’re fortunate to be home to major manufacturers, life sciences leaders and other large employers with a global footprint,” Davis added. “But small business is the fastest-growing segment of our economy, and we can’t afford to have promising Hoosier companies shut off from 80 percent of the world’s earning power outside the United States.”

The Metro Indy Export Plan aims to grow the number of exporting companies in the region 20 percent by 2020.  It calls for a variety of resources aimed atsmall and medium enterprises – export training, a single point of contact for export assistance, free online market data and analysis, and a ‘matchmaking’ portal to find shared transportation and logistics opportunities to lower costs.

The plan also promotes mentoring and supply chain relationships between major exporters and new entrants, creating industry-wide opportunities.

While many of these strategies will take the form of local initiatives and public-private partnerships, state-level recommendations include a coordinated economic development approach emphasizing exports, reinstating the state Trade Show Assistance Program, targeting infrastructure investments towards global transportation and shipping, and prioritizing international education programs.

The Indy Chamber will continue to provide updates on the development and execution of the Export Plan, with the ongoing support of the Brookings Institution, JPMorgan Chase and other partners.  On April 23rd, the Chamber will host its annual World Trade Day conference, focused on international business networking and a slate of expert speakers and panel sessions focused on global issues.


About Indy Chamber
The Indy Chamber is the voice of progress and improvement for the Indianapolis region's business community. With membership of nearly 2,300 businesses representing 230,000 employees in the Indianapolis region, the Indy Chamber is leading the effort to strengthen the business climate, improve the state of education, revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the region's workforce. In 2012, the Indy Chamber merged with Indy Partnership, Develop Indy, and Business Ownership Initiative. For more information about the Indy Chamber, visit

Media Contacts:

Jessica Higdon, Indy Chamber, 317.464.2232, [email protected]

Chris Watts, CVR Public Relations, 317.514.3184, [email protected]

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