Last week, the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association held a discussion at its Spring Legislative Conference in Harrisburg on how the state can remain globally competitive. Moderated by Katherine Skopp, Director of Global Partnerships & Operations in the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the panel included Evan Hoffman, Director of State Government Affairs for the Organization for International Investment; Suchit Bachalli, CEO of Unilog, an India-based firm; and David Briel, Executive Director, International Investment, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The panelists discussed steps economic developers can take to position their local markets as attractive locations for foreign direct investment.

Evan and Suchit provided a few tips for economic developers when recruiting a small-to-medium-sized FDI company:

Tip 1: Help connect smaller FDI employers to customers, suppliers, and service providers in the area. Hosting a dinner or networking event with a company and potential customers, suppliers, or service providers is helpful.

Tip 2: Smaller FDI companies from less traditional FDI markets benefit from cultural integration. For instance, Suchit mentioned a few tips when recruiting an India-based company. Does your community have a Hindu Temple nearby? Do you have English classes for executives’ kids/families? Is there an India-business group or an India consulate general that can be connected to the potential investor?  

Tip 3: Smaller FDI companies will not know how the U.S. federal system of government works. For instance, federal, state, and local laws and tax authorities all may differ. Have a single point of contact that can help a company navigate the complex network of rules and laws in the United States.