September 25, 2017

Trade Missions

As states look to attract foreign investment and expand their global reach, Cornerstone Government Affairs can provide support and expertise to both the delegation traveling to the host country as well as foreign companies looking to expand in the United States.  The goal of a trade mission from any state is to encourage local businesses, lawyers, financial advisers, brokers and investment bankers to attract partners and potential cooperative agreements to enhance the economy,academic research,and job growth.  We live in a global economy; in order to grow, states often look outside their borders.  These trade missions strive to create lasting partnerships that are beneficial and stimulate both economies.

Last week I returned to the US from Israel where Cornerstone sponsored and assisted in the organization of an Iowa Economic Trade mission. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham, and the rest of the delegation took part in both political and business meetings.  The delegation showcased the strength of the Iowa economy and the benefits of doing business in the state while the Israelis put forth compelling reasons to partner with the country and its innovative businesses.  Cornerstone was able to set up meetings with political figures and businesses that helped complement the trip.

Why Israel?  Israel has the highest concentration of startups and research and development centers per capita in the world.  From agricultural and medical achievements toacademic accomplishments, the potential value for partnerships between Israel and Iowa is endless.  Israel’s achievements include discovering a way to extract waterfrom air, inventing a pill camera that allows doctors to see inside the human body, and creating a way to correct a genetic flaw that causes Alzheimer’s.  Israel is a relatively small country with a population of 8.5 million and in order to thrive it is imperative they look for larger markets for expansion.

One example of an opportunity for exploration for US companies is through a BIRD grant.  The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation’s mission is to stimulate, promote and support industrial R&D of mutual benefit to the U.S. and Israel.  Established by the U.S. and Israeli governments in 1977, BIRD provides both matchmaking services between U.S. and Israeli companies, as well as funding covering up to 50 percent of project development and product commercialization costs.  BIRD’s scope extends to Agriculture, Communications, Life Sciences, Electronics, Electro-optics, Software, Homeland Security, Renewable and Alternative Energy and other sectors of the hi-tech industry. Cornerstone can assist in finding a strategic Israeli partner, whether technological or marketing. Any pair of companies, one Israeli and one U.S.-based, may apply jointly so long as they can demonstrate the combined capabilities and infrastructure to define, develop, manufacture, sell and support an innovative product based on industrial R&D.  If a project fails, BIRD claims no repayments.

In addition to our work and connections in Israel, Cornerstone has a unique reach and expertise in many foreign markets and can assist our clients in political and business arenas as they navigate opportunities outside the U.S.  Whether expanding your company’s footprint outside the US or looking for a value added partner, with trade missions Cornerstone can make those goals a reality.