Early-stage Atlanta companies seeking to expand into international markets may be able to get support from the City of Atlanta in a program that will send them abroad for free. The Atlanta International Startup Exchange, now in its third year, will select four companies to go to Toulouse, France, for a week this fall to meet with potential clients, investors and business leaders.
Four companies from Toulouse, a city of Atlanta ‘sister city,’ will travel to Atlanta. Both sets of startups will receive round-trip airfare, accommodations, dedicated co-working space, attendance to local technology events, and ground transportation for one executive from each company.
“The whole genesis of the program… it’s hard and it’s expensive for startups to be able to travel to these overseas markets to talk to potential customers,” says Noelle London, assistant director of entrepreneurship and innovation at Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development authority.
The Startup Exchange program kicked off in 2016, spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs and Invest Atlanta. Since then, the program has enabled 14 startups to travel abroad and establish new partnerships across the pond.
Following the application submission period, which ends August 5, finalists from each market will be selected by regional investors, industry specialists, and trade officers. From the finalists, the eight companies will be chosen.
Startups visiting Atlanta will be able to attend the Venture Atlanta conference, the largest early-stage investor event in the Southeast. The city will also hold an international pitch day where they, along with other local startups, can showcase their products to investors and corporations, as well as an Aviation Innovation Demo Day where the startups will pitch to executives from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and companies like Delta, Lufthansa and Southwest.
London says several of the international companies that have participated in the program are considering opening a second office in Atlanta to access the customers and corporations they met while on the Exchange.