DEGC Promotes Trade and Investment to German Companies

From: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development

The German American Chamber of Commerce hosted a trade mission here in Detroit last week, and I was there representing DEGC Business Development’s new focus on engaging foreign companies and helping local companies export goods and services more aggressively and strategically overseas.

The fifty-person delegation from Germany’s Niedersachsen region – home to Volkswagen, Continental and Airbus, as well as the world’s largest industrial trade fair, Hannover Messe – was led by the Minister of Economics for Lower Saxony, and largely consisted of executives from automotive/mobility companies, a key target sector for DEGC Business Development.

Through discussions and tours of the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) Institute, IAV Automotive Engineering, MCity and the UM Battery Lab, the delegates learned about future trends in mobility during their two-day visit. Ned Stabler, vice president for Economic Development at Wayne State University and TechTown CEO, and I also shared with them the history of Detroit and highlighted the exciting new projects underway in our city.

This was the first of several foreign development investment and export-related forums that DEGC will participate in or co-convene in 2017. It follows the highly successful trade mission to China we participated in last year with Mayor Duggan and Governor Snyder, where we inked a trade partnership agreement with the city of Shenzhen.

In addition to forging an important agreement that lays the foundation for further partnership of inbound investment and export activities, we came away from that trip with two or three viable business attraction leads.

We are keenly focused on China and will most likely do another trade mission this year. We’re also planning to support a second trade mission with Germany as well as one with Michigan Israel Business Bridge to assist in business to business export matchmaking.

With a sizeable grant from JPMorgan Chase, DEGC Business Development is promoting an understanding of global commerce throughout the organization and hiring the staff to enhance and manage our new global focus, which encompasses five key sectors:

  • Automotive/mobility, including companies like Sakthi Automotive Group, which is expanding and bringing new jobs to the city.
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Food
  • Health and medical
  • Emerging industries, particularly tech companies like our most recent win, Microsoft.

Sandra Choi is our new Foreign Direct Investment Business Manager who will work on these endeavors.

In addition, we’ll continue to cultivate our relationship with companies such as Sakthi to learn what attracted them to Detroit, what keeps them here and what growing pains they might have so that we can learn and share their story with other foreign companies considering an investment in Detroit.

Strengthening Detroit’s brand in the global marketplace to promote international investment and local export opportunities is a key component in Detroit’s continuing resurgence. DEGC Business Development stands ready to engage foreign companies and help local companies in their export efforts.

 

 

 

Riverfront Redevelopment is Real — and DEGC is Ready

Last week DEGC joined the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRFC) and the City of Detroit to announce details of a framework plan that will preserve more of Detroit’s riverfront land for public use and create greater community access.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Creating nearly eight acres of additional park space on the East Riverfront.
  • Increasing community through two new “Dequindre Cut” style greenways
  • Streetscape improvements to make E. Jefferson more attractive and bike and pedestrian friendly
  • Sale of publicly owned land through the release of RFPs

The plan has special significance for DEGC, because our involvement goes back more than fifteen years. DEGC staff, acting for the EDC, managed the creation of the 2003 East Riverfront Plan that envisioned the transformation of the district from obsolete industrial land to a mixed use of recreational, residential and other developments. DEGC’s project management role included work on sections of the RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut and Trail, the acquisition and demolition of cement silos, facilitating the adaptive reuse of the Globe Building and managing deals and site remediations that led to Orleans Landing, among many other projects.

All those activities required forging new collaborations with solid partners, such as the City of Detroit, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Riverfront Conservancy. We are very pleased that those and other partnerships are continuing stronger than ever. DEGC will continue to be a lead player in implementing the riverfront plan — starting with the release of a request for proposals for the redevelopment of the historic Stone Soap building. It’s incredibly exciting to see what’s in store, and we are grateful to be working with such great partners and stakeholders.

Use this link to download the Stone Soap RFPQ, or share the link page with others who may be interested in it.

Please take a look at the presentation of the Your East Riverfront Plan in the DEGC Reference Library.

Follow East Riverfront news at the dedicated website: YourDetroitEastRiverfront.org

The Free Press gave the story very good coverage in Thursday’s edition.