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From Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President of Business Development

The Detroit Economic Development Corporation’s (DEGC) Business Development practice group seeks opportunity wherever it may exist. That’s why our team deploys a number of strategies to ensure that we are maximizing every possibility to bring new investment to our city. To achieve the greatest success, we’re focused on three specific approaches:

  1. A Cluster Strategy: Detroit is the undisputed world leader in the mobility sector. But it is also emerging as a leader in advanced manufacturing, technology, healthcare and food processing and distribution. Our value propositions highlight the city’s competitive advantages for businesses in these industries, hence our targeted approach to growing these clusters.
  2. Geographic Volume: Three countries in the world have the fastest growing rate of investment in metro Detroit: South Korea, India and China. Because of this, our team actively works to build relationships in these markets and meet with business leaders and government officials interested in having operations in North America, as well as host envoys here in Detroit.
  3. Corporate Site Selectors: When companies are looking to relocate or expand, they often retain site selectors to help identify locations that provide the greatest benefits. Our team is developing relationships with the country’s leading site selectors – often representing Fortune 500 companies. Collectively and individually, our team meets with these location experts, showcasing the city and explaining the real cost-benefit of doing business in Detroit.

Often times we will combine efforts with other stakeholders to achieve maximum impact. This was the case with the U.S.-Korea Business Summit, held in Detroit last month, and co-sponsored by the DEGC and KOTRA Detroit (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency). The purpose of the Summit was to “connect the dots” between outstanding Korean companies and well-respected local companies in Metro Detroit. to foster long-term partnerships and facilitate mutual growth.

The summit focused on the future of the global automotive industry including connected, autonomous and electric-based technologies. In addition to highlighting new trends and innovations in the automotive and aerospace industries, the Summit served as a platform to establish and enhance key bilateral industry relationships that support the growth of trade and investment between Korea and the U.S., specifically the Metro Detroit area.

DEGC works closely with KOTRA to identify market opportunities for Korean companies in Detroit, especially those in our targeted cluster industries. South Korea is one of metro Detroit’s fastest growing investor communities. We are extremely interested in strengthening our Korean networks and meeting new friends interested in learning about and contributing to Detroit’s growth.

We co-sponsored the Summit to help participants better understand what Detroit has to offer South Korean businesses. For example:

  • Detroit is the third largest U.S. port of entry and the largest American city on the Canadian border. That results in $350 million in imports and exports every day.
  • Thanks to an improved corporate tax structure, Michigan’s overall business climate ranking has jumped from 40th in the nation to a top 10 ranking. Our pro-business environment provides access to numerous flexible incentives for businesses of all sizes.
  • Access to a manufacturing and engineering workforce has been an advantage for the area for a long time. We have a tremendous pipeline of advanced manufacturing talent thanks to the deep university footprint in the region.
  • Detroit is brimming with available space. DEGC matches organizations with opportunities for redevelopment, re-use and leasing of city assets.

In addition to sharing Detroit’s value proposition at the Summit, DEGC hosted a small cohort of Korean companies in advance of the event. We conducted a tour of Detroit’s recent investment projects and hosted a welcome reception, which included top government officials, various Korean corporate executives and local economic development partners. The evening went a long way toward establishing and developing direct relationships between Detroit and South Korean trade leaders.

Later this month, the DEGC will again be combining our business attraction strategies by hosting the Select Detroit International Investment Summit. The Summit is an intimate business development forum that connects foreign investors with local business and government leaders to showcase Detroit as the world’s advanced industries leader. Select Detroit is a spinoff of SelectUSA, a national business summit sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Cities hosting local “Select” events include Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Portland.

This will be Detroit’s first opportunity to host the event, which is being held June 18 and 19. The Summit will introduce investors to the region’s advanced industries, which produce $58 billion of goods and services annually, and are home to the nation’s largest and fastest growing engineering workforce.

Select Detroit participants can choose one of three industry tour tracks; automotive and mobility, food innovation and clean energy to network with potential local partners, suppliers and industry leaders. The Summit also provides a series of workshops to provide insights and resources regarding starting or expanding operations in Detroit.

To participate in the Summit, you can register at http://www.selectdetroit.com/.