For the second year in a row, Mike attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January. He worked the International Pavilion and met with more than 30 companies from China, Taiwan, Israel, UK, and France. During the conference, he attended three French delegation receptions from Marseille and Nice regions. He was notified that Nice has selected Richardson as their second recommended “soft landing” location for companies from their region looking to expand to the U.S. He will finalize the relationship on his next visit to France sometime this year.
Mike Skelton met with members of a Belgium delegation visiting DFW and has followed up with two Belgium companies looking to expand to the US. He also met with an Italian IoT software company, and two trade organizations from Houston, the Quebec Trade Consul and the Chief Executive Director of Japan’s JETRO Trade Organization.
Meetings were arranged for the Mexican and Argentina Consuls General with Mayor Paul Voelker in mid-December. The Mayor did a great job selling Richardson/Telecom Corridor to the Consuls as the high-tech hub of the Dallas area and a great place for tech companies from their counties to establish their US office. Both Consul Generals also participated as keynote speakers at an International Concierge luncheon on the topic to NAFTA with approximately 60 attendees.
The Richardson Community US Ignite initiative (REDP/UT Dallas partnership) recently received a grant for $20,000 to use as awards for development of new ideas for gigabit or low latency internet applications. We held a Richardson Community US Ignite Smart Gigabit Community Application Challenge at the Eisemann Center on February 24 to launch the effort. Proposals for such internet applications will be due on March 31st and winners will be announced by April 21st.
A group of sixteen (16) teachers from Xiangtan, China participated in a two week “English as a Second Language” training session at Richland College. Richardson’s China Ambassador, Mr. David Wong, Managing Director of the Elite Cultural Center in Richardson worked for two years to arrange this. Each teacher paid Richland College $1500 to participate in the event.
Launched new program with UT Dallas Jindal School of Management/International Business called Center for Global Business. Charlie Chen has offered space at DFW Innovation Center in Richardson to house up to 20 international business interns that will be assigned to five geographical regions and help REDP International with FDI lead generation from the various regions, act as ambassadors and translators for visiting delegations etc.
A delegation from Changsha County (Hunan Provence) China, a Richardson Friend City partner, visited City Hall and met with Mayor Voelker and City officials. The delegation is looking to strengthen our relationship and to work more closely on trade and investment between our two communities.
Richardson’s International Economic Development program was again recognized by the Financial Times of London, for its Foreign Direct Investment rankings of American Cities of the Future 2017-18. For the third consecutive rankings, Richardson was ranked in a Top Ten category of Foreign Direct Investment. This year’s ranking placed Richardson’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Strategy in the Top Ten for Small Cities (populations of 100,000 to 350,000) 74 out of 208 small cities were evaluated for this category throughout the Western Hemisphere.