By: Derrick Olsen ~ Vice President of Regional Strategy & Coordination ~ Greater Portland Inc
Beginning in 2012, Greater Portland Inc, in partnership with the Office of the Mayor of Portland, the Portland Development Commission, and an export task force that included the Port of Portland, Business Oregon, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center Portland, convened a regional effort to increase the volume of exports from $21 billion to $42 billion dollars between 2012 and 2017. The goal to double regional exports in five years is an effort to create high-quality, family wage jobs in the Greater Portland region. On average, export related jobs pay 18% more than non-export related jobs and help to grow our global connectivity by linking to markets overseas.
[pullquote]The Brookings Institution[/pullquote]
The initiative was driven by a market assessment done 2011 in collaboration with The Brookings Institution that revealed that nearly one-fifth of the Greater Portland economy is generated by exports. Greater Portland also leads a larger national trend. In 2011, Trade Promotion and Coordinating Committee, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, found that metropolitan areas produce 84% of the nation’s exports. In 2013, Greater Portland ranked eleventh among the top 100 metropolitan regions in total export volume.
This led to a formal business plan for the region in 2012 that outlined a coordinated action strategy for expanding exports. Through four strategic actions, the Greater Portland Export Initiative concentrated efforts around analyzing transportation barriers in the computer and electronics sector critical to maintaining international business, launching a case management pilot program to coach new-to-export companies, conducting training for economic development professionals that enables them to provide export assistance to local business, and marketing Greater Portland’s competitive advantage, starting with sustainable development through the We Build Green Cities campaign.
[pullquote] Atlantric – a great partner [/pullquote]
The Export Initiative has a great partner in Atlantric who played a major role in year one assisting Forest Dental in Hillsboro, Oregon through the case management pilot program. Atlantric prioritized markets for entry in addition to providing specific market entry strategies that would help Forest Dental engage overseas. Under the case management idea, the City of Hillsboro economic development team will work with Forest Dental on follow-up to help them as they move toward greater exports.
GPI continues to guide the execution of the Greater Portland Export Initiative strategies through a collaborative operational framework. This consists of a high level public-private steering committee, led by Metro Council President Tom Hughes and Intel Corporate Affairs Manager Jill Eiland, and work groups carrying out defined strategic actions within each core strategy.
[pullquote]Goal – $42 billion by 2017[/pullquote]
The export goal is ambitious—$42 billion by 2017—but in just two years the region has reached $33.9 billion in exports. In year two of the Export Initiative, the work groups will focus on increasing local sourcing in the computer and electronics sector, launch an Atlantric-led peer-to-peer mentorship effort for targeted companies (see separate article for details), and explore expanding the regional campaign marketing from sustainable development into athletic and outdoor, advanced manufacturing and clean tech.