Growth by any means necessary

September 24, 2012

There was a time in the U.S. and Ohio when we had all the growth we wanted domestically, and there was a time not long ago that companies dove headlong into global markets.  Companies, as well as communities, can no longer depend on either, but must work to strengthen both.

Growing the economic base in the 11-county Columbus Region can be enhanced by increasing our exports in both manufactured products and services.  Investment follows trade and trade follows investment, and our strategy needs to include both tactics.  One recent study points to millions of jobs that could be created by 2020 across the U.S.

The U.S. exports nearly a trillion dollars of manufactured goods each year, and there is a growing ability to buy and use U.S. made goods.  Ohio’s exports totaled more than $40 billion in 2011 and are on pace to exceed that this year, fueled by strong growth in transportation equipment and, as always, steady agricultural exports from our state.  According to Brookings, the top 30 performing metropolitan areas today are almost exclusively located in Asia and Latin America, each with growing populations of consumers.  While that fact hurts our overall pride, it is also an unprecedented opportunity.   American know-how coupled with the ability to manufacture in a stable and competitive market should mean that we can invent, commercialize, manufacture and deliver more and more goods as other parts of the world develop.

The Columbus Region has been selected by the Brookings Institute as one of a small number of metro areas that they will help in developing a roadmap to accelerate export growth.  With help from federal, state, university, and local allies, we hope to strengthen our region’s economy by increasing exports and leveraging those relationships into foreign direct investment.

One Columbus Update
The 2020 team will be in the Northeast U.S. this week making calls upon clients and location advisors and is also preparing for a great trip to Japan in just a few short weeks.   Per the note above, we are very committed to working with the Japanese companies in the Columbus Region, and continuing to attract additional Japanese companies.  Let’s have a great week.

-Kenny McDonald