Diversity Attracts Foreign Direct Investment to Ohio

By Andrew Deye, JobsOhio Senior Director of Strategy

When a global company leader looks to locate and expand in the U.S., it can be a tough and personal decision to make.

However, Ohio makes the decision less complicated, rising to the top of any company's site selection short list. The state's diversity, professional infrastructure, and cultural competency are key reasons Ohio stands out. Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany currently rank as the top three investor countries in Ohio.

Ohio is an ideal destination for global investment and currently, there are over 3,800 international establishments, owned by more than 1,000 foreign companies from 47 countries across nine key industries located here. Together, international establishments employ 215,560 people in Ohio, making global investors important contributors to the strength of the state's economic prosperity. 

That doesn’t happen by accident. Our team at JobsOhio works closely with our Regional Partners across the state to build strong relationships with foreign investors and companies. Together we help international investors identify the critical assets in the state to elevate Ohio as the right location for their international business. 

The state’s most recent global expansion occurred in April when Schaeffler, a German-based company, announced plans to expand its automotive facility in Wooster, Ohio. The company’s $60 million capital investment commitment is expected to create 250 new jobs and retain 1,767 jobs, growing Schaeffler's position as Wooster’s largest employer.

Key relationship building often occurs during national events and international trade shows. In June, JobsOhio will join our network partners from across the state at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C., the United States’ highest profile event to promote job-creating foreign investment. More than 2,000 attendees from 65 nations are expected to attend this year’s summit. All attendees have serious interest in investing in the United States.

Economic organizations from various states will tout the benefits of locating to their state. Each state's representatives are sure to highlight their state's location, talent, business climate and incentives. So, let me start because this is where Ohio has more to offer than many other states. 

First, Ohio has an economic development model unlike any other in the country. With JobsOhio, companies partner with a private, non-profit corporation led by business experts with experience starting and operating profitable companies. JobsOhio has a board of directors with a network to help build productive relationships with job creators around the world. JobsOhio offers answers to tax issues, services in accounting, introductions to future supply chain partners, and much more.

Ohio also presents a diversity that other states can’t rival. As one of the few states with multiple large cities -- Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus – alongside many great micropolitan areas -- Toledo, Akron, and Dayton -- gives foreign investors many attractive site locations to consider.

Ohio is distinguished by a well-established international business and social community, thanks in large part to companies like Honda and Siemens. For example, the Columbus suburb of Dublin continues attracting new Japanese arrivals due to the concentrated number of Japanese day schools and high-performing public school districts offering full-time, Japanese-speaking aides all within close proximity to the Honda facility in Marysville. There are strong cultural links between Ohio and Germany as evidenced by the thriving German Village district in Columbus and vibrant Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, the largest event of its kind in the United States.

Attracting foreign investment is an exciting part of our mission at JobsOhio. We can’t wait to welcome new international companies to Ohio in 2016.