February trip to focus on encouraging companies to invest in Wisconsin

Madison – Governor Scott Walker will lead a trade mission of economic development officials to London in February as part of the state’s efforts to encourage companies in the United Kingdom to invest in Wisconsin.  Governor Walker made the announcement today at a meeting of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

“There are many reasons why international companies seeking to expand or relocate should consider Wisconsin, and we are proactively making that case around the world,” Governor Walker said. “Wisconsin companies already have great success exporting their goods and services overseas, and that success has helped grow the state’s economy.  Attracting foreign investment is the logical next step of expanding on that international success.”

The trip, which will take place from Feb. 9 to 13, will focus solely on attracting foreign direct investment to Wisconsin. Governor Walker and leaders from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will meet with UK business executives about establishing new operations in Wisconsin, and providing additional capital to established state businesses to expand their Wisconsin operations and create jobs.

During the trip, Governor Walker, WEDC Secretary and CEO Reed Hall and other key WEDC leaders will have face-to-face meetings with high-level business leaders from the United Kingdom.  The state delegation will specifically focus on companies that plan to expand in the U.S. in the next 12 to 36 months.

The state delegation also will meet with trade-related government officials, business associations, universities and industry clusters that align with Wisconsin’s business strengths during the trip.

In addition to ongoing one-on-one meetings with business prospects, other the highlights of the trade mission include an executive roundtable with UK business leaders, and a University of Wisconsin Alumni networking breakfast.

WEDC’s foreign direct investment strategy calls for focusing on attracting overseas companies that best fit into Wisconsin’s growth sectors, such as energy, aviation/aerospace, water technology, agriculture, biotech and medical devices, and food processing and food processing equipment. Emphasizing Wisconsin’s highly developed research and development culture in those growth sectors will set Wisconsin apart from other states, said Katy Sinnott, WEDC’s vice president of International Business Development.

“For example, a foreign company who operates in the advanced manufacturing arena may want to come to North America, but they need to develop their product for this market,” Sinnott said. “We believe they’ll find the expertise needed to customize or further develop their product for North America in Wisconsin’s strong R&D culture. We’ll emphasize our strengths, but then use R&D as a key differentiator to tip the scales in Wisconsin’s favor.”

In addition to meeting with UK companies about possible investment in Wisconsin, the state delegation also will reach out to executives of Wisconsin companies that already have operations in the UK to enlist their support in the state’s attraction efforts.