In 2011 the City of Richardson and the Richardson Economic Development Partnership created the Mayor’s Office of International Business with the goals of recruiting foreign businesses to Richardson and assisting local companies with their export initiatives. Mike Skelton was hired to lead the program as Director of the Mayor’s Office for International Business. Since the program kicked-off, a number of programs have been developed to recruit foreign-based companies, and to support their establishment activities once they arrive in Richardson.
Richardson International Ambassador Program
Local business, academic and civic leaders that travel abroad for business or personal reasons have been recruited to represent Richardson during their travels as an Ambassador. Official credentials have been provided to introduce Ambassadors to governmental and business officials, and marketing material promoting Richardson has been created for their use overseas. To date over 20 ambassadors have been selected.
International Business Concierge Program
Over 30 Richardson Chamber of Commerce and Metroplex Technology Business Council members have been selected to be part of a new program allowing members to offer specific services to incoming foreign businesses. The goal of the program is to help foreign businesses set up their operations quickly and to ease into the Richardson business environment. Categories of services offered include legal (corporate, immigration, intellectual property), accounting, international banking, staffing, corporate and residential real estate, management consulting and more.
Economic Development Trip to Scandinavia
Skelton is currently in Scandinavia to meet with prospective partners and companies considering expansion to the United States market. The trip includes meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark; Lund, Sweden; Karlskrona, Sweden; and Helsinki, Finland. During his trip he will meet with commercial business associations similar to the MTBC, including Telecom City in Sweden and Otaneimi Technology Hub in Finland. Skelton will also meet with technology incubation organizations, venture capitalists, economic development agencies and universities. A number of companies that are considering expansion to the U.S. are also on the agenda.
“Scandinavia and the technology companies that are evolving there represent a perfect match for Richardson and the Telecom Corridor,” says Skelton. “Like the Telecom Corridor, these areas have evolved beyond purely telecommunications technology to fuel their local economic growth. Many of the companies that have emerged have grown to the level of going global, and they have their sights on the U.S. market.”
Educating these growing companies on the benefits of locating to Richardson before they select places like Silicon Valley, California or the Massachusetts Route 128 Corridor is key to bringing them to our area, Skelton explains. “We have customers for their products, an ecosystem to support their move here, and the programs to help set them up and succeed. Creating partnerships with organizations that incubate and support these fast growing companies with Richardson and the Telecom Corridor is an important element in our recruiting efforts.”
Are you interested in being an Ambassador, or do you offer a service foreign companies could use upon locating to Richardson? Contact us to learn how to participate in REDP’s international efforts.