Ohio: Great for FDI

Looking at the statistics and having talked with foreign companies investing in the Buckeye State, a JobsOhio manager can say with confidence — “Ohio is truly a great place to do business.”
JobsOhio Foreign Direct Investment Manager Mindy McLaughlin addressed more than 100 people at the Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council annual meeting Wednesday by examining the numbers and the philosophy behind retaining jobs in and attracting jobs to Ohio from foreign firms.
After explaining that
JobsOhio’s objectives are to “create, retain and expand jobs in Ohio, to attract new capital investments and to be extremely client focused,” McLaughlin dived into a series of numbers as a testimony to the importance of foreign investment to Ohio’s economy.
Foreign investment in Ohio is accounting for more than 30 percent of the job creation and growth.
Forty-three foreign companies have invested in Ohio during the last 18 months since JobsOhio, a private, non-profit corporation designed to lead Ohio’s job-creation efforts, began its operations, she said, and 881 international firms are operating in Ohio. More than 189,000 Ohioans are employed by foreign companies — but the number she is most proud of is that fact Ohio is ranked eighth in the country for foreign direct investment employment.
She said they managed to recruit new investment through investment missions, trade shows and company visits.
“Our relationships with diplomatic corps in very important, our relationships with business leaders is very important, our relationship with the influencers is very important,” McLaughlin said.
The top investors in Ohio are Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France and Switzerland, but McLaughlin said they are concentrating on two countries although they are proactively working with all countries.
“We know that we can’t be all things to all people, so our mandate is to find a few things that we are really good at and focus on those,” McLaughlin said. “When it comes to countries to market that we are going to go after as a state, these two are clearly our winners — Japan and Germany.”
She pointed to the investment dollars spent by Honda and Hitachi from Japan and BASF and Siemens from Germany.
“We don’t exclude other countries, we are just being really data driven and are really watching the numbers to follow the trends,” McLaughlin said. “The reason for our strategy is our reputation around the world is that we are very good at manufacturing — high volume, high tech manufacturing.”
Foreign direct investment means “good jobs for Ohioans and increased innovation.”
She shared international firms like the commitment Ohio people make to their communities, which leads to more foreign investment and a greater global awareness.
“People in southeast Ohio and Pennsylvania and Indiana may not the name of Wapakoneta, but the Germans and the Japanese know about Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon and Wapakoneta,” McLaughlin said. “By having a strong work force, and educated work force and attending foreign trade fairs, it creates a global awareness of the region. As companies visit and locate here, they real value is more international companies will be spreading the word of Wapakoneta and Ohio.”