Archive for the ‘EDO Spotlight Series’ Category

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Arlington County, Va.: Showcasing at SelectUSA

July 20, 2017

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. 

By Natalie Monkou, Business Development Manager, Arlington Economic Development.

Arlington Economic Development logoAs a region, the Greater Washington area is a prime destination for international companies that want to expand and grow in the United States. Arlington’s location, just across the Potomac River from Washington, allows companies, both regional and international, unparalleled access to the entire region and the world.

For the past three years, Arlington Economic Development (AED) has attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit (Summit), using the event as an opportunity to showcase Arlington, Va., and its community, businesses, and infrastructure. International companies interested in expanding or locating to the Washington region will find that Arlington has many tangible benefits including:

  • Strategic East Coast location within a two-hour flight time to major business centers in the United States
  • Easy access to three international airports (Washington Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan National Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) that connect to markets representing 80 percent of the world’s economy
  • Closest proximity of any Virginia jurisdiction to U.S. federal government, international organizations, and institutions
  • Highest percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds in the country with the majority working in the professional, scientific and technical services industries

As we look to grow and expand our business community, Arlington views SelectUSA as a great convener of subject matter experts that discuss topics of interest to our mission and community. Currently, Arlington is focused on attracting companies in high technology markets such as cybersecurity, energy, health, education, and big data. The Summit provides an ideal platform to engage with compatible businesses and organizations.

This year, as a kickoff to the Summit, we co-hosted a regional dinner with the Greater Washington China Investment Center and our partner EDOs from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. During this event, AED representatives engaged with 120 Chinese delegates and investors and local companies that are currently doing business or are interested in expanding their business to the United States.

The Summit is also a great platform to attract international companies. During our first visit to SelectUSA in 2015, AED met with representatives from Arktis Detection Systems, Inc., a Zurich, Switzerland-based company that develops cutting-edge radiation detection systems. The company has received funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which also happens to be headquartered in Arlington, to continue work on its advanced range of detectors. As a result of those discussions, in April 2016, Arktis opened its first U.S. subsidiary in Arlington. The Arlington location has given the company a home base in the United States to support and grow its operations. It was especially rewarding this year to see and listen to Rick Muntz, acting president of Arktis, speak on the “Preparing for and Managing Sustainable Growth: Exploring U.S. Soft Landings” panel at the Summit.

Overall, this served as a reminder of the success and the support that international companies, especially early-stage startups, receive when locating or expanding to the United States and Arlington, Va.

Interested in learning more about Arlington, Va., or how Arlington Economic Development can assist with your company’s business move? Contact us at aed@arlingtonva.us.

 

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In Idaho, Rural is a Great Investment

June 9, 2017

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.

By Megan Ronk, Director, Idaho Commerce

In Idaho, we know as well as anyone what great opportunities rural America provides to businesses from across the world. From a highly skilled workforce, government support, and unmatched natural resources, more and more businesses are realizing the advantages of investing in rural states like Idaho.

During the last several years, Idaho has become home to many significant relocation and expansion projects. Chobani’s decision to build the world’s largest yogurt facility in Twin Falls raised eyebrows around the world. But the company’s decision to invest in our state, plus numerous other examples, highlights Idaho’s diverse economy, and the many ways rural America can support a variety of different businesses and industries.

  • Kochava, a leading software analytics company, chose to expand in Sandpoint, creating more than 200 new jobs and more than $100 million in new wages.
  • The Dow Chemical Company constructed a $20 million facility in Burley, generating more than $12 million in new wages.
  • Orgill, the world’s largest independent hardlines distributor, will be expanding into a distribution center in Post Falls, creating more than 130 jobs and $68 million in new wages.
  • McCain Foods USA, whose parent company is based in Canada, recently announced a substantial expansion to its potato processing plant in Burley, an expansion to the tune of $200 million and 180 new jobs. McCain is the largest manufacturer of frozen potato products in the world, and a supplier to thousands of restaurants and supermarkets across the globe

These are not only huge economic wins for Idaho, but also a perfect example of why investing in Rural America is a great business decision.

McCain’s decision to put down roots in Idaho and grow in the state has been the result of a joint effort on the part of the company’s leadership and a collaboration between local and state officials, associations, and the company.

International investments like McCain demonstrate the draw and economic opportunity of rural communities in the United States. By maintaining a business-friendly economic climate, low tax rates, reasonable regulations, access to a first-class workforce, low-cost power, and many other advantages, we expect to see continued growth and expansion in our rural communities.

If you’re a global business investor looking for your company’s next expansion location, we recommend taking a look at rural America.

Attending the SelectUSA Summit?

We are excited to participate in the upcoming SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20. If you’ll be there, too, we invite you to see Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little at the “Make it in Rural America” session during the SelectUSA Investment Academy. Afterwards, stop by Booth 311 in the Exhibition Hall to meet Team Idaho. We look forward to showing you what The Gem State has to offer.

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Finding Unique International Investment Opportunities in Montgomery County, Maryland

June 1, 2017

Guest blog post by Spiros Balntas, CEcD, Director of Business Recruitment, MCEDC

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.

Next door to the nation’s capital is a bustling business center that is building a powerful innovative base for emerging industries. With one million residents, Montgomery County is the most populous county in Maryland, and home to more than 32,000 businesses, including 227 internationally owned companies. These global companies have a major presence in the county, adding to a vibrant economic workforce in a culturally diverse and growing area.

Knowing that international companies seek out key attributes in choosing a location, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) focuses on highlighting the areas where Montgomery County gets the highest marks, and offering new opportunities for global business to grow. Some of the county’s homegrown companies have become international from this home base.

Here are examples of companies with global reach that have chosen to come into the county or expand here:

  • Choice Hotels – International company based in Rockville, MD
  • Greencourt Innovation Center – Chinese-owned company creating a green, state-of-the-art innovation center in Rockville MD
  • GSK – British pharmaceutical company, opened its first dedicated vaccines R&D center in Rockville, MD
  • Honest Tea – International sales from its Bethesda, MD headquarters
  • Marriott International – In 122 countries from its Bethesda, MD headquarters

A Highly Educated Population

Montgomery County boasts the nation’s highest percentage of adults with post-graduate degrees – 31 percent – higher than anywhere else in the country. Local colleges and universities in the county contribute to an active pipeline of skilled employees. The Universities at Shady Grove offer degree programs from nine University of Maryland institutions, and is constructing a state-of-the-art, biomedical sciences building. Meanwhile, Montgomery College’s Bioscience Education Center is a 145,000-sq. ft. complex for STEM field education and workforce development.

A Hub for Connectivity

Companies with a presence in Montgomery County, recognize the incredible benefits of our unique proximity to federal agencies, foreign embassies, chanceries and diplomatic missions. Transportation also frequently rises to the top of the list for global companies deciding on a home base. Montgomery County-based companies have three international airports to choose from, each within 30 miles: Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Montgomery County is also part of the Greater Washington rapid transit system, providing easy access to the national capital area.

A Central Location for Growth Industries

Montgomery County’s industry clusters are growing in key areas including cybersecurity, biohealth and information technology. When global GSK opened its first U.S. dedicated vaccine R&D center in Rockville, the company cited Montgomery County’s location at the heart of a dynamic and cutting-edge bioscience hub in Washington, D.C. as a key factor in its decision. Many also take advantage of proximity to federal institutions including the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, among others—all headquartered in Montgomery County.

It’s not just the biohealth and cybersecurity clusters that are growing – so is the hospitality industry. Marriott Hotels, which has a long history in Montgomery County, is planning a state-of-the-art, $600 million complex in downtown Bethesda. Choice Hotels also chose to keep its Montgomery County roots in selecting Rockville for its expanding headquarters.

Opportunities for Building and Growth

Business infrastructure is in high demand, especially the need for more wet lab space for BioHealth companies. Montgomery County is planning for improvements in future land use, including zoning changes to meet long-term goals and objectives in the BioHealth Capital.

Montgomery County is poised to continue its rapid growth as a magnet for global business – and MCEDC is here to help international companies find success.

For more information, reach out to:

Spiros Balntas, CEcD
Director of Business Recruitment
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation
spiros@thinkmoco.com
301.857.1942

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Companies from 15 Countries Expanded in Oakland County, Michigan in the Metro Detroit Region in 2016

April 13, 2017

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.susa

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!

For information on Oakland County, Michigan, contact us at Info@advantageoakland.com or through our website: www.AdvantageOakland.com

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Professional Football as the Jacksonville Region’s Gateway to Foreign Direct Investment

April 6, 2017

Jerry Mallot is the President of JAXUSA Partnership, Northeast Florida’s regional economic development organization (EDO) based in Jacksonville. Learn more about the organization at JAXUSA.org.  

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.

A unique coordination between a National Football League franchise and a regional economic development group is supporting hundreds of U.S. jobs in Northern Florida.

In 2013, Jacksonville Jaguars football team owner Shahid Khan committed the franchise to playing a home game in London every year. We at JAXUSA pounced (like a jaguar, naturally) on what we saw as a great opportunity to leverage the football team’s international outreach for local economic development purposes. In partnership with the Jaguars, JAXUSA launched annual economic development missions to the United Kingdom to help initiate and build long-term relationships with international companies and organizations.

Those missions are already paying off for Jacksonville; here are just a few examples:

  • Greencore, an Ireland-based food-preparation company, established operations in Jacksonville, creating hundreds of jobs in our region. These operations continue to grow.
  • City Refrigeration, based in Scotland, selected Jacksonville for its North American headquarters, creating 110 new Florida jobs. The company operates around the world with more than 12,000 employees and is the largest privately-held facilities management company in the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • Resource Solutions, an international recruiting services firm, opened a global service center in Jacksonville, adding 75 skilled jobs. The London-based company, which provides outsourcing solutions for many of the world’s leading brands, is seeking to grow its operations in the United States. And as the company’s U.S. market share grows, so will its operations in Jacksonville.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) from the U.K. and other global locations is a vital part of the Jacksonville region’s overall development and sustainability strategy. Companies from more than 26 countries call the city home, supporting thousands of jobs in the Jacksonville area. Our investment missions, the dedication of JAXUSA investment specialists, and partnerships with organizations like SelectUSA help Jacksonville continue to grow as a global destination for business.

As for the coordination with the Jacksonville Jaguars? Our NFL-inspired U.K. FDI missions help us tell our story to a larger global audience. These missions help us connect with top company leaders and work toward bringing jobs and economic growth to the Jacksonville region. They also add a higher profile to our presence overseas and open doors to new investment opportunities.

Jacksonville is a competitive player in the global marketplace and as we continue to attract more international companies to our region, we strengthen our attractiveness to companies around the world. But the ultimate (field) goal is always creating jobs through investment that makes a real impact on our communities.

 

 

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Wisconsin Economic Innovation Flows Through International Collaboration

March 31, 2017

Katy Sinnott is Vice President of International Business Development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the state’s lead economic development agency. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a significant driver of Wisconsin’s economy, directly supporting 90,000 jobs across multiple industries. WEDC is dedicated to increasing FDI in Wisconsin by nourishing international connections and identifying new opportunities collaboration.

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.

Mindful of the boost that FDI provides to Wisconsin’s overall economic growth—more than 1,500 foreign-owned establishments have created nearly 15,000 new full-time jobs since 2003—WEDC is working to grow those numbers even further.

One major thrust of our strategy is strengthening ties for Wisconsin’s key industries to their counterparts overseas. When we work at connecting a whole industry, there is a multiplier effect compared to working company by company to build connections. This approach helps support economic growth and also promotes innovation in Wisconsin, as our companies get a chance to cross-pollinate ideas with their industry colleagues from other countries, sharing and comparing their different approaches to solving common problems.

Signing

At WEFTEC 2016, The Water Council and the German Water Partnership signed a memorandum of understanding paving the way for future Wisconsin-Germany collaboration.

Bringing Wisconsin to the World, and the World to Wisconsin

To see how these international industry connections can bear fruit, we need look no further than Wisconsin’s water technology sector, which has been actively cultivating these connections for several years under the leadership of The Water Council, a key strategic partner of WEDC.

Connections made on a global trade venture to Germany in 2015 led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between The Water Council and the German Water Partnership a year later. The Water Council also has agreements with two water-related consortia in France and the Netherlands.

At the same time, the Water Council’s Business. Research. Entrepreneurship. In Wisconsin accelerator (BREW) for water technology companies in Milwaukee has also played a key role in attracting companies from all over the world. At the end of their year-long accelerator experience, many choose to stay at Milwaukee’s Global Water Center (where The BREW resides) permanently.

To strengthen another nascent connection, representatives of The Water Council visited Israel in November 2016 to explore opportunities for collaboration among Israeli water technology startups, Israeli universities and Wisconsin’s water technology cluster. The Water Council offered to provide a “soft landing” for Israeli companies wishing to enter the U.S. market, helping them make connections, get the lay of the land and even find office space in the Global Water Center if desired.

It’s not only the water technology sector that is focused on making international connections. Both the Mid-west Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and The Water Council are exploring opportunities in India in hopes that Wisconsin companies can play a part in India’s Smart Cities initiative, a $1.2 trillion plan to develop and redevelop 100 cities, with technology integrated into areas including energy, transportation, public safety and infrastructure. In the years to come, we expect many opportunities to arise in markets such as China and India, where population growth combined with economic growth means they are improving older infrastructure and adding new at a rapid pace to improve living conditions for their population, and we will be working to help Wisconsin companies connect to these opportunities. Already, FaB Wisconsin is making connections in India to see how Wisconsin food and beverage companies can help with the “cold chain” for distribution of products that must stay refrigerated, for example.

SelectUSA: A Valued Partner

SelectUSA has been a key partner in these efforts. Following the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, WEDC partnered with SelectUSA to host a business roundtable and networking reception for companies in Mexico City—which included promising meetings with Mexican industry associations—with particular focus on food processing and manufacturing. In addition, WEDC and SelectUSA partnered to host a similar roundtable in India, with a focus on the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.

We are grateful to have benefited from SelectUSA’s connections in these markets, since it can be challenging to identify foreign companies with real projects they seek to deploy in the U.S.

WEDC is dedicated to continuing to nurture these connections between Wisconsin’s industry clusters and their counterparts abroad. We are grateful for the support SelectUSA has provided in these efforts, which are crucial to increasing FDI in Wisconsin and helping those industry clusters reach their full potential.

To stay connected to economic development news in Wisconsin, please visit InWisconsin.com and follow us on Twitter.

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Colorado: Attracting FDI by the Numbers

January 12, 2017

By Dan Lane, Global Business Manager, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

At the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT), attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) is an important part of our overall mission to create a healthy economy for our state. Foreign companies doing business in Colorado create jobs for our residents, build our state’s international connectivity, and help to fill gaps in our economy.

Looking back, 2016 was another strong year for the State of Colorado in welcoming foreign investment and defining a strategy that truly works.

At OEDIT, we have learned to take a targeted approach to attracting FDI. The world is a big and potentially overwhelming place, and without a targeted strategy driven by data and analytics, we would spend far too much time chasing leads and scrambling for any and all types of investment. A data-driven approach, however, helps us create a win-win situation by providing foreign companies with a prime market opportunity in the United States and simultaneously shoring up some of the gaps in Colorado’s economy.

building

Colorado State Capitol in Denver

OEDIT’s in-house data and analytics team plays a vital role in crafting Colorado’s FDI attraction strategy, examining a wide range of economic indicators from Colorado and around the world to help refine our approach. This team continuously analyzes Colorado’s economy to see where we have gaps in our local industries and supply chains. Earlier this year, our analysts also pored over world economic indicators to identify countries that met two key criteria – strength in industries where we had identified gaps, and robust growth projections over the next year.  By overlaying these data sets, OEDIT was able to craft a strategy targeting companies from fast-growing economies that could fill unique niches in Colorado.

Of course, our strategy plays to Colorado’s strengths as well. Colorado’s attractiveness as an FDI destination was highlighted by several speakers at the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, including Secretary of State John Kerry.  In his remarks, Secretary Kerry highlighted the grand opening of a new $1.3 million global R&D center in Boulder by Envision Energy, a Chinese producer of wind turbines and smart wind farm software.  The Envision Global Blade Innovation Center is expected to create up to 42 jobs for highly-skilled Coloradans – and according to Envision, far and away the most important driver for selecting Colorado was its talented local workforce.

Colorado is becoming the “wind energy capital of America” largely due to its innovative, talented and highly educated population. In fact, Colorado is the second most highly educated state in the nation.  This fact may come as a surprise to people who associate the U.S. coasts with higher education; but for Envision, Colorado’s excellent universities revealed a hidden gem of highly educated local talent. Boulder’s close proximity to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) – the ideal testing ground for Envision’s blade designs – was also a key factor in the company’s choice of this location. In fact, Colorado has the highest density of national labs anywhere in the United States. This is yet another reason why Colorado has a correspondingly high density of engineering talent and attracts companies like Envision.

We at OEDIT are proud of the great strides we have made in attracting foreign direct investment to our state. At the same time, we recognize that there is still work to be done.  While Colorado’s reputation as a business hub is well known domestically, we still need to work hard to boost our recognition on the international level. This is an area where SelectUSA has been particularly helpful to Colorado. First and foremost, the Investment Summit provides an excellent platform for Colorado to compete side by side with coastal states that are better known among foreign business people. SelectUSA also helped Colorado organize and host a group of Chinese CEOs who saw firsthand what a great place Colorado is to do business.  Finally, SelectUSA is renowned for its data-driven approach to FDI, and offers a wide range of resources, including online data tools ranging from an interactive FDI dashboard, to an industry cluster mapping tool, and much, much more!

At OEDIT, we plan to continue taking advantage of the opportunity to partner with SelectUSA and take advantage of the platform that they provide, and we are excited to see what 2017 brings.