Weeklong trip enabled Wisconsin officials to tout state’s business climate, industry strengths to UK leaders

MADISON, WI. Feb. 13, 2015 – A delegation of state economic development leaders returned to Wisconsin Friday after a weeklong trade mission to the United Kingdom that focused on encouraging UK companies to invest in the state.

“This was our first overseas trip that focused solely on attracting foreign investment to Wisconsin, and we made significant inroads in spreading the word about why UK business leaders should consider investing in Wisconsin or establishing operations here,” said Reed Hall, Secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which organized the trip. “At every stop on the trip, we received a warm reception from officials who were anxious to learn more about what makes Wisconsin a great place to do business.”

As a result of the trip, one UK manufacturing company will visit Wisconsin within the next month to discuss the possibility of establishing operations in the state. Several other companies have said they see a potential fit with Wisconsin, and will continue having conversations with state economic development officials. There also are multiple individuals interested in investing in the state’s emerging industry clusters, such as water technology, biotech and energy.

“Between the private meetings with individual companies and larger networking sessions, the Wisconsin delegation made contacts with more than 150 UK business and economic development leaders this week,” said Katy Sinnott, vice president of International Business Development for the WEDC. “This is the first step of what will be an ongoing process, but there is no question that the UK business community has a greater awareness of the all that Wisconsin has to offer as a result of this trip.”

Governor Scott Walker, along with Secretary Hall, Sinnott, and two WEDC business attraction specialists, held numerous one-on-one meetings this week with UK companies that plan to expand in the U.S. in the next 12 to 36 months.

The delegation also hosted an executive roundtable with UK business leaders hosted by Live Financial Times, which is affiliated with the Financial Times newspaper, and fDi Magazine, a publication that caters to international corporate decision-makers. Other events included a networking breakfast with alumni of the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University; and a special Wisconsin networking reception with business and government leaders.

Jim Paetsch, Vice President of Corporate Relocation, Expansion and Attraction for Milwaukee 7, who was part of the delegation, said the changing British economy presents some new opportunities for Wisconsin to attract UK investors.

“A sizable portion of foreign direct investment into the U.S. comes from the UK. Much of that investment has been generated by large financial services companies, but that is changing,” Paetsch said. “There has been a manufacturing renaissance in the UK and many British companies are discovering opportunities in the U.S. market. Wisconsin’s assets are attractive to these companies and this trip provided us with an outstanding opportunity to tell our story.”

The trade mission was part of the state’s foreign direct investment strategy, which calls for focusing on attracting overseas companies that best fit into Wisconsin’s historic and emerging industry clusters, such as manufacturing, agriculture, energy, water technology, agriculture, biotech and medical devices.


About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. WEDC nurtures business growth and job creation by providing resources, technical support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation and international business development. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.