How Do We Win the Decade?
I recently traveled to Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul as part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) Mission to Asia. The overarching goal of the mission was to build long-term partnerships with these Asian countries and Colorado in order to encourage investment into the state and provide Colorado companies such as Advanced Energy with the opportunity to strengthen ties in the region.
Did you know that China and Hong Kong invested a total of $73 billion into U.S. businesses in 2017? According to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, some of that investment is in Colorado companies, including Envision Energy (wind turbines) and BPL Plasma (healthcare/life science). As part of the mission, it was my goal to help the OEDIT pitch Colorado as viable for even more foreign investment.
We know that Colorado is a great place for business, though most countries in Asia are only familiar with the U.S. overall or locations on the coasts. When I was preparing for my presentation, I did some research on the state. I found that Colorado enjoys the fastest growing economy in the U.S. We have the second most educated workforce in the country, and technology clusters are driving advanced manufacturing, aerospace, biomedical engineering and financial technologies industries. Developing new products and services is a priority for nearly 60 percent of Colorado manufacturers, but for only 40 percent of manufacturers nationally. The OEDIT trade mission and programs raise awareness of Colorado’s economic climate, support of entrepreneurs, and desire to build relationships with global companies today that will grow over time.
This is Just the Beginning – Stay Tuned!
From AE’s perspective, it’s important that we keep connected to groups developing technology around the world and stay at the forefront of innovation. Plus, diversity fuels innovation; when we join forces, we can combine ideas and approaches to draw a mutually beneficial technology innovation roadmap. For example, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, another organization that we met with, emphasized that innovations in industries such as electronics, biotechnology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and precision engineering are seen as the future for the country – and that finding partners to help in those areas is a priority. Missions like ours help make those connections for Colorado and companies like Advanced Energy.
I mentioned before that the objective of the trade mission is to not just win business today, rather for the future. As a business leader who is often focused on driving results with our customers and getting things done quickly, I found myself needing to change my perspective. Beyond a typical strategic plan, we are looking to win investment for long-term economic growth for Colorado and to help new industries develop. For Advanced Energy, a growing Colorado economy will attract talent to our state and new industries will bring opportunities for growth. Our goal was not to win the day or week, it is to work to win the decade and beyond. So, please keep an eye out for follow-up posts on progress as we strive to establish more relationships that will help AE today, and position us to build on partnerships and success.