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Eastern Idaho Secures Its First Foreign Direct Investment

February 9, 2018

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Guest post by Lisa Buddecke, Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho

Photo of Sakae Casting President and CEO Takashi Suzuki and Lt. Governor of Idaho Brad Little at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 20, 2017.

Sakae Casting President and CEO Takashi Suzuki and Lt. Governor of Idaho Brad Little at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 20, 2017.

Eastern Idaho, known for its Innovation Corridor – featuring extensive science, technology, and research sectors – secured its first foreign direct investment (FDI) success as a direct result of SelectUSA.

In the spring of 2017, Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI) celebrated the grand opening of two Japan-based metal fabrication businesses, Sakae Casting and Ohzen, in Idaho Falls. These investments, the first for both companies in the United States, were finalized after meeting with the Idaho team and SelectUSA representatives at the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

This FDI came about in a unique way. REDI’s CEO Jan Rogers first contacted Sakae Casting during its 2016 visit to Idaho Falls, thanks to a sister city program between Idaho Falls and Tokai-mura, Japan. At the recommendation of Rogers, Sakae, together with the company’s partner Ohzen, attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit later that summer.

“Thanks to Sakae Casting and Ohzen’s success at the SelectUSA Summit, their representatives returned to Idaho Falls to meet with potential partners, including the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and local advanced manufacturing companies,” Rogers said. “With support from our contacts at SelectUSA, Sakae decided to open its first U.S. location here to focus on research and development and partner with our universities, nuclear, and advance manufacturing companies in product development and sales.”

Selecting Idaho Falls was an ideal fit for Sakae and Ohzen. With the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and Idaho National Laboratory in the region, these entities are already beginning to pay off for Sakae Casting.

In November 2017, the Idaho Department of Commerce awarded a nearly $238,000 Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant to the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies to partner with Sakae Casting on research and development on spent nuclear fuel storage and cooling capabilities. The results of this partnership could impact nearly 100 nuclear power sites. The IGEM funding is vital to kick-starting Sakae’s extensive R&D efforts.

Without Sakae Casting attending the SelectUSA Investment Summit and SelectUSA’s ongoing support throughout the process, none of this would have been possible. This successful interaction is a testament to how valuable SelectUSA can be in fostering and supporting FDI in the United States, and how FDI projects can grow foreign capabilities and economic development years after the initial investment.

To learn more about the upcoming 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit (June 20-22), please visit selectusasummit.us.

 

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