On Monday and Tuesday, March 23 and 24, I had the opportunity to attend the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC. I was one of about 2600 attendees from 1,300 companies and more than 70 international markets.
If you followed my tweets about the event, you’ll know about the impressive group of high government officials who addressed the conference, led by President Obama himself, who gave the keynote address. Both he and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker emphasized the favorable investment climate fostered by economic resurgence in our country. It was certainly heartening to hear that well-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S. have increased significantly since 2010, many of which can be attributed to the impact of foreign investment.
Various panel sessions addressed a wide range of topics related to foreign investment in the U.S. One particularly notable panel, from my point of view, was “Successes Come in All Sizes.” The participants discussed how even small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) can “thrive in the U.S. market.” These are just the type of small and mid-sized businesses that make up a fair share of our client base and greatly contribute to the growth of the US economy and local communities.
Another panel of particular interest to SMEs discussed innovative work environments. The panelists addressed how new workplace environments such as “incubators, soft-landing sites, co-working spaces, and maker spaces” can provide new ways for foreign investors to jump-start productivity in the U.S.
The exhibit hall hosted a large number of booths for state, regional, and local economic development agencies. It was very exciting to see the many states promoting their strengths and competing for the attention of foreign visitors: offering local delicacies and touting their climate, their workforce talent pool, and the ever so important fiscal advantages. I also learned about a new website, StateBook International, that provides data from every community in the country to help investors select promising business sites.
Also, I appreciated how the event provided a forum for foreign investors to partner with each other and share their experiences about the US market—like hearing about an Indian software company comparing notes with a Columbian IT integrator or a Turkish food company learning from a Danish one.
The size of the event may have somewhat limited the amount of real networking that could go on in a two day period. Also, I would like to have seen more foreign SMEs represented in the various panel discussions to illustrate the variety of opportunities for investment by this type of company. Nevertheless, the summit was unique opportunity to mix with an amazing assortment of high-powered people as well as a great advertisement for investment opportunities in the U.S. marketplace.
MTM LinguaSoft is ready to assist foreign investors with translating their messages into English, just as we have helped numerous U.S. manufacturing and technology firms with translation and localization in other languages as they expanded into international markets.