The 2017 Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program

Businesses want to increase profit and build their customer base. Nationally, one percent of businesses export goods or services. Businesses that do export are more recession proof and successful. In honor of May as World Trade Month, elected officials and economic development leaders in the Sun Corridor (defined as Pima, Pinal and Maricopa Counties) will honor businesses for their achievements in exporting at an event on May 19, 2017. Exporters are invited to apply to the inaugural Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program beginning February 13, 2017.

In 2009, elected officials in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties developed the Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC) to increase cooperation and economic vitality in the midst of the recession. In 2017, the Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC) is partnering with economic development leaders to host the Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program to increase profitability for businesses and the region’s global competitiveness. This program will invite businesses to be recognized for their exporting successes at a JPAC event called Sun Corridor EDGE (Economic Development for the Global Economy) on May 19, 2017. In addition to recognizing successful exporters, EDGE will feature speakers renowned for their expertise in international trade.


The recognition program is an opportunity for businesses to be honored for their successes in exporting. This will provide the following benefits.

  • Validation: The competition provides an independent, consistent evaluation of businesses that export. This can be used in promotional material developed by the businesses that participate.
  • Promotion: The top scoring business in each of the three counties, as well as a sampling of the top scoring businesses owned by minorities, veterans and women, will be featured in a professionally produced video. Elected officials will be invited to participate in the video. Businesses may use the video for their own promotional purposes. Press releases also will be distributed broadly throughout the three counties announcing the top scoring businesses, as well as the success levels for all that apply.
  • Connections: The evaluation team and program partners will introduce businesses to connect them with the resources they need to grow their exporting. This will support businesses in fully leveraging the assistance that is available in their communities. All applicants will be included in a directory of exporters, helping to connect them with other businesses and customers as well. The Sun Corridor EDGE event will provide an opportunity for networking with business and community leaders. Elected officials and the press will be invited when the top scoring businesses are recognized at their business location inMay in addition to the EDGE event.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Apply: Exporters located in the Sun Corridor may apply or be nominated using the following form or by visiting by March 17, 2017. The categories include Overall Export Achievement and the following specialty areas as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration: Veteran-Owned Exporter, Minority-Owned Exporter, and Women Owned Exporter. All businesses are invited to apply. Any business applying in the above specialty areas would be eligible to receive recognition in the Overall Export Achievement category. Application
  2. Evaluate: A team of industry leaders will evaluate the applications according to three levels of exporting: emerging, proficient, and expert. The length of time a business has spent exportingwill be considered as one of the factors. Emerging is definedas exporting for less than three years. Proficient is defined asmore than three years and less than 10 years. Export is definedas more than 10 years. Other factors that will be consideredinclude innovation, impact, and financial stability.
  3. Celebrate: All business will be recognized at the Sun Corridor EDGE event on May 19, 2017. A representative from each of the top scoring businesses also will be invited to speak as part of a panel session at the event.
  4. Grow: All businesses that apply will receive feedback and referrals to help them increase their exporting in the future. Throughout the competition and beyond, this program will provide warm introductions and information about how to access available resources. A business may be recognized as “emerging” in the first year. Given the right resources and guidance, the goal is to provide the support the business needs to become proficient or an expert in exporting.


All exporters located in Pima, Pinal or Maricopa Counties may apply or be nominated. Exports for this purpose are defined as products or services in which 51 percent or more of the components are produced or provided in the Sun Corridor for international markets. This includes second tier exports that are initially sold to American firms as part of a supply chain and the product or service is ultimately sold outside the country.


This program is possible thanks to the leadership of the Joint Planning Advisory Council. This includes Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments; Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, Chair of the Pima Association of Governments; Town of Queen Creek Councilmember Robin Benning, Chair of Central Arizona Governments; and City of Eloy Mayor Joel Belloc, Chair of the Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization. This program would not be possible without the expertise and partnership from the following entities:

  • Arizona Commerce Authority
  • Arizona District Export Council
  • Central Arizona Governments
  • East Valley Partnership
  • Global Chamber Phoenix and Global Chamber Tucson
  • Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Maricopa Association of Governments
  • Metro Phoenix Export Alliance
  • Partnership for Economic Innovation
  • Pima Association of Governments
  • Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Sun Corridor Inc.
  • U.S. Commercial Service
  • Western Maricopa Coalition (WESTMARC)

Important Dates:

The Sun Corridor EDGE program will begin accepting applications on February 13, 2017. Application packets will be available at

All applications must be completed and the application and attachments must be submitted by 3:00 p.m. (MST), March 17, 2017, using the application available at Download the PDF application form, fill it out using Adobe Reader or compatible software, save it, and then email the completed PDF form and any attachments to Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Responses beyond the posted word limit will not be considered.

The businesses will be recognized at their business location in May 2017 in addition to the EDGE event. Local elected officials and the chair of the regional planning agency will be invited to attend. The businesses will also be featured in a press release sent to all major media outlets and through digital platforms.

The May 19, 2017, JPAC EDGE event will recognize the exporting achievements of businesses throughout the Sun Corridor. All businesses and the public may register to attend the event at

Selection Criteria:

Applications are expected to be complete, clear, and concise as a threshold for consideration. All applications deemed to meet this expectation will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Economic Impact: 35 percent – Data regarding the company’s revenue, markets, and expansion activity in exporting will be evaluated. The product and/or service and overall business strategy will be evaluated in terms of its contribution to the exporting field and potential for growth.
  • Innovation: 35 percent – The evaluation team will prioritize businesses that use innovative and creative techniques that demonstrate success (marketing, effective solutions to export-related problems, etc.) and can be replicated by other businesses in the region.
  • Financial Stability: 30 percent The applicant’s ability to sustain exporting activities will be evaluated in terms of a sound capital base, percent of operating budget dedicated to exporting and sufficient ongoing resources.

For More Information:

Please visit or contact Amy St. Peter, Maricopa Association of Governments, at or Farhad Moghimi, Pima Association of Governments, at