Lake County’s Export Exposure is Huge

Did you know that Lake County, Illinois is a large destination for international trade and foreign investment? In 2020, it was the second largest exporting county in Illinois, with an export revenue of a whopping $7 billion. In fact, Lake County’s exports account for 13% of the state’s total exporting in export values.

Lake County’s prominence in Illinois’ exporting is all the more important given the state’s domestic role as an exporting powerhouse. With a total export value of over $53 billion, Illinois is the fifth largest exporting state in the country, and number one in the Midwest. Illinois companies now export to 213 countries, with the most engagement in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Australia, China, Brazil, the UK and Japan.

Importantly, small and medium-sized businesses are driving the success; they make up 90% of the state’s exporters and account for 25% of the state’s total export value. The impact is huge, with direct exporting accounting for nearly 10% of the Gross State Product (GSP). This means that the size of your business doesn’t have to stand in the way of your company’s exporting potential—especially if you are operating in Lake County and can take advantage of the network of support and many exporting resources at your fingertips.


Though your ability to sell goods within the country shouldn’t be underestimated, it’s important to remember that 96% of the world’s consumers are outside of the U.S. and 70% of the world’s purchasing power is outside of the country too.

There is very likely a built-in global demand for your product, and tapping into these new markets will give you the opportunity to grow sales and revenue. Including an international component in your business strategy is almost certain to give your company an edge when it comes to growth and long-term viability.

Exporting also allows your company to stabilize seasonal markets and sales fluctuations. As your domestic business ebbs and flows, you can use exporting as a tool to recover local losses. In diversifying your customer base and portfolio, you can mitigate risks and enhance your company’s stability. Likewise, you can use exporting to leverage the life cycle of a product; products that are considered mature stage in this country might still be growing elsewhere.


Lake County businesses benefit from the services and support offered through us and partners like the Illinois Small Business Development and International Trade Center (ITC) at the College of Lake County. ITC is well-equipped to quickly assess your company at no cost and determine exporting opportunities. Through the ITC, you not only get personalized counseling and training, but you can also receive assistance processing documentation, automating trade leads and linking to key trade representatives. Connect with the ITC directly here, or contact us here to see how we can work together to prepare your business for the global stage.