More than 40 percent of total job-supporting investment came from foreign-owned firms.
This post is part of SelectUSA’s EDO Spotlight series, highlighting the work of EDOs around the country recruiting foreign direct investment, how that work supports jobs and economic growth across the United States, and how SelectUSA partners with EDOs to support economic development.
Located in the heart of the Metro Detroit region, Oakland County, Michigan, has long been a community open and inviting to foreign direct invest (FDI) from around the world. This investment supports nearly 6.4 million U.S. jobs, and over 200,000 jobs in Michigan, making it a great driver of growth in our state.
FDI has traditionally come from the automotive industry, with 75 of the top 100 global tier 1 automotive suppliers making Oakland County their North American home. Now with the mobility movement and the exciting autonomous vehicle technology being developed here in the region, Oakland County is seeing companies from new technology sectors looking to locate into our community.
Today, new FDI is coming from multiple sectors, including:
- Automotive / Mobility;
- Healthcare technology;
- Information technology;
- Defense; and
- Advanced / Light-weighting materials sectors.
Our county is home to over 1,000 foreign-owned firms from 39 countries, which could easily compare to many U.S. states. Last year we saw companies from these 15 countries make our community their home or expand their operations here:
Australia Germany Japan Norway
Canada India Korea Spain
China Ireland Mexico Switzerland
France Italy Netherlands
Having had a strong FDI strategy for over 20 years, we have gotten to fully understand what companies need in order to be successful in the USA, and we give the companies a chance to “try us out” before making a commitment. Our International Business Center (IBC) at Automation Alley (the region’s technology consortium) and the OU Inc business incubator at Oakland University are both Certified International Soft Landing Centers. Businesses can locate here for three months free of charge while they test out the U.S. market and the Oakland County location. My team and I work with them on building their business in our region and making important connections for them in their industry, helping them understand what we already know: that there’s no place better to invest than the United States.
Michigan has a great business case for all companies, including a talented workforce, great business support, and a diverse economy. When you look at the technology that comes out of Oakland County, it’s no wonder the US Patent office opened its second location in our region. Technology and innovation are clearly seen in every industry here in Southeast Michigan.
The great success we have had in our FDI work has created numerous benefits for the community. Not only do foreign-owned firms create thousands of jobs in the region and help grow our economy, the new investments have also helped bring various cultural assets to our community. These include several dynamic ethnic business chambers, including:
- Sweden American Chamber of Commerce;
- Irish American Chamber of Commerce;
- German American Chamber of Commerce;
- French American Chamber of Commerce;
- Italian American Association of Business & Technology (IAABT);
- Japanese Business Society of Detroit; and
- Detroit Chinese Business Association.
We have the largest Japanese School in the United States, one of the most prized Chinese art collections, top rated French and German schools, and we have one of the largest bocci ball stadiums in the world for our Italian residents. These cultural assets are imperative to the quality of life for all our residents.
SelectUSA has been a great partner of ours in our FDI success. From the online tools available to us, to the SelectUSA staff that specialize in different regions of the world, we rely on our partners regularly. We work with them closely to understand the markets we are interested in and to help us successfully recruit investment from those markets. The SelectUSA Investment Summit is a “must attend” event for us. In the last two years, we’ve gotten over 10 leads and 4four successes from our participation. We’ll be there again in 2017, and we hope to see you there!