The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Trade and Investment announced today that it will begin accepting nominations for the Governor’s Export Awards. The Governor’s Export Awards are the State’s highest recognition of export achievement, honoring Illinois companies that have achieved excellence in exporting, as well as organizations that provide substantial export assistance.
Illinois companies and organizations may submit an export award application in the following categories:
- Exporter of the Year: awarded to Illinois companies that have grown exports and made exporting a cornerstone of their business;
- New Exporter: awarded to Illinois companies that have begun exporting products or services within the last three years;
- Service Exporter: awarded to Illinois companies that are successfully exporting services;
- Agricultural Exporter: award for outstanding export achievement in the field of agricultural products, services and technology;
- Export Awareness and Development: awarded to Illinois-based not-for-profit organizations involved in promoting Illinois;
The deadline for submitting applications is Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 4pm.
Exports represent a significant opportunity for Illinois businesses. Over 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States, however currently less than one percent of U.S. companies currently export. Exports by Illinois companies totaled over $63.4 billion in 2015, and accounted for over eight percent of the Gross State Product. Illinois is the largest exporting state in the Midwest, and the fifth largest exporting state in the country.
The Office of Trade and Investment provides technical assistance for Illinois companies interested in exploring export opportunities. The Illinois State Trade and Export Promotion (ISTEP) program helps small and medium-size businesses grow their export sales through group and individual trade and sales missions, assistance with product compliance, and international marketing support. Additionally, Illinois’ International Trade Centers offer information, counseling and training to existing and new-to-export companies interested in pursuing international trade opportunities.