Our Economic Development Team connected with another group representing investment groups spanning Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Eygpt.
Currently, the conversation is in the exploration stage but interest seems high around innovation services. Particularly the ability to build out start-up incubation services in key areas of technology critical for these regions. These services would be used to support US based start-ups and the exchange of international based startups to incubate in the USA all with goals of having commercial potential to solve challenges in their regions. Most of these technologies around water, energy, agriculture, etc would have applicability around the world so are high priority efforts for many investment groups.
What has been interesting over these past few months of hosting international delegations is not only the similarity of interests in innovation, education, and exchange, but the vast diversity of how they view investments in different cities in the USA. Some of the factors that seem to create the variance is determined by:
- Where they see the strength, growth/decline, or emergence of industry clusters in the USA. Cities with old brands are not attractive and cities with significant international brand and clear economic development plans for the region attract attention. Note: This is not always the biggest US cities that have the best plan forward and those plans are not always lead by government agencies but more private economic development companies working collaboratively across the region.
- Demographics of the overall region. How international is the area?
- Education opportunities, what international programs exist or willingness to develop.
- Current USA industries working in their region
- Current regional government engagement with the international region. This is more state level vs. federal. How proactive is has the state been to do outreach and build relationships.
- The vibrancy of the startup economy: The amount of investment corporations or Venture Capitalists had made in their local region.
- The personal networks of the investors in partnership with other USA investors.
- Willingness to partner in foreign the capital stack between domestic and international money.en
- Vetting and background checks of all parties.
- Personal networks / history of past business success.
Our next step is to partner with the US Commercial Services to vet these opportunities / sources at this time.