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
- 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.