Innovation Destination Hartford, together with the International Business Council (IBC), is working to showcase global initiatives throughout Connecticut.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN THE HARTFORD REGION
Serving as the international arm of the MetroHartford Alliance, the IBC’s mission is to communicate and facilitate international business opportunities in the Hartford region. The IBC works to encourage partnerships in areas including direct importing/exporting, joint ventures, technology licensing, and capital investment.
“The business community and local community have been driving the initiative,” says Rebecca Nolan, Vice President of Business Development at the MetroHartford Alliance.
The IBC assists foreign companies that want to set up U.S. operations in Connecticut and serves as a resource and facilitator to help companies test their market potential and research appropriate locations throughout the Hartford region.
“The Council works as a catalyst in identifying other parts of the world to focus on and helping the state understand why we should pay attention to certain markets,” explains Nolan.
The IBC works closely with the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC) to attract new companies to Connecticut.
CERC is a nonprofit statewide economic development organization. “Our mission is to spur economic development at a local and statewide level,” explains Jason Giulietti, Vice President of Business Recruitment at CERC. “For example, the organization provides concierge services to show international companies all of the assets Connecticut has to offer,” he adds.
“The ecosystem of collaboration has been really important,” emphasizes Giulietti. “We’re managing relationships on behalf of the state to drive international companies to Connecticut at the right time.”
Countries of focus include the Baltic States, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Poland, Netherlands, Romania, and the United Kingdom.
The IBC has successfully helped about 25 Israeli companies create a presence in Connecticut. In addition to the success from Israel, Connecticut subsidiaries of global companies play a vital role in Connecticut’s economy, insourcing 100,900 jobs; writing paychecks to 7% of Connecticut’s private-sector workforce (according to the Organization for International Investment).
“There’s a global reach here. Connecticut is global,” says Nolan. “Increasing our global reach is a 2016 priority,” she adds. “We’re looking to attract greater foreign direct investment and drive employment growth.”
The IBC and CERC are working on partnerships to build community, which Nolan says is “a catalyst for change.”
“International companies looking to create a presence in Connecticut appreciate the interest and support of our cultural and ethnic communities,” explains Giulietti. “Having people of similar backgrounds helps companies feel welcome while offering a direct connection to resources like schools, markets, and sense of community.”
He adds, “The countries we have targeted reflect the innovation and strengths of the Connecticut economy. The relationship between business expansion and community connections provides Connecticut a unique competitive advantage.”
DRIVING INNOVATION IN CONNECTICUT
The IBC and CERC have been working to find international companies that can bring innovation to Connecticut. “Business is driving the innovation, which is the future of the of the Connecticut economy,” stresses Giulietti.
“We need to leverage what we have and infuse more innovation into the Connecticut economy,” he continues. “Bringing tech innovation from other parts of the world enhances our companies here and attracts and retains young people.”
But, once they are here, what is the key to keeping those companies here in the state?
“Innovative companies want assurance that where they are coming is innovative,” says Giulietti. “These efforts—along with the efforts of Innovation Destination Hartford in sharing stories of success and innovation throughout Connecticut—serve to provide a full picture of our scope of innovation.”