World Trade Center Savannah, a regional economic development organization established by the Savannah Economic Development Authority, recently announced its list of target countries for 2013, which includes Germany. The other target countries include United Kingdom, Brazil, Japan and Canada. The group also named five countries of interest: Turkey, Israel, Portugal, Nigeria and South Africa.
World Trade Center Savannah offers the Savannah region a professional, proactive international strategy to develop and optimize international networks and opportunities.
Governed by a regional board, WTCSav is focused on helping regional businesses grow internationally, identifying more foreign direct investment opportunities for the region and generating revenue to support these activities.
In an effort to determine which countries hold the most potential based on existing assets, industries, connections, relationships and investment, the organization’s board and staff examined and evaluated dozens of criteria that directly affect international commerce throughout the southeastern Georgia and southern coastal Carolina region, in a session facilitated by Craig Lesser, former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, now consultant to WTCSav.
Germany has long been an active business partner with a number of German-based businesses like EMD Millipore, BASF and is the home for the headquarters of Georgia BioMass, owned by German based RWE Innogy. Savannah has had many prospective businesses from Germany visit the region and even has its own Honorary Consul General, Denis Blackburne, representing Germany in the region as well as the Georgia Department of Economic Development having trade offices located in Munich, Germany.
The yearlong, in-depth and ongoing analysis used more than 20,000 points of data, both quantitative and qualitative. The data covered a wide range of factors including raw import and export data, non-governmental entities facilitating trade, already existing trade agreements and regional businesses with partnerships abroad, including relationships the city of Savannah and other regional partners have been cultivating.
"It’s about focus,” said WTCSav Chairman of the Board of Directors Eric Johnson. “While we won’t be turning away opportunities just because they aren’t on the list, with this research and the resources of the World Trade Center Association that include 343 other World Trade Centers in more than 100 countries representing millions of businesses, we have a promising game plan for attracting investment.”
Throughout 2013, World Trade Center Savannah will focus marketing and sales efforts to attract regional investments of international companies as well as promote regional businesses.
“In addition to the target list we will review annually, the database we’re building is a powerful daily tool for helping established regional companies make decisions about their international business development efforts. It allows our team to provide more research more quickly and also more easily discern the opportunities that have the greatest potential impact for our region,” said Brynn Grant, Vice President of World Trade Center Savannah.
WTCSav works to meet the specific needs of its partners and clients through a variety of services including educational programs, business-to-business matchmaking, research, protocol information, receiving inbound delegations, and providing access to an immense international business network.
"The result of this work is a clearer path to creating more jobs in the region and the state by weaving a fabric that pulls resources together in four basic areas -- government, business, education and culture. These strengths are critical to success in international business,” said Lesser. “With these resources and the important research I have seen done here, I am encouraged about the long term results. It should tie in nicely with the State's efforts and shows off the unique opportunities of the greater Savannah region.”
Johnson concluded, “It is all about attracting investment and creating good jobs.”