by Sam Kaplan
I write this from the frozen tundra of Indianapolis where we are participating in the Brookings/JPMorgan Chase export planning process of the Global Cities Initiative (more on this next month). As we flew into the snow storm that seems to be covering everywhere east of the Mississippi, I was reminded of how important it is to target where and when you travel.
The Trade Alliance works with countries around the world. Just as Greater Seattle’s companies and organization’s seek out markets in every continent, so too does your Trade Development Alliance work to connect and promote our region in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and beyond. But, it is also true we are a small (though mighty) staff. And while we do and will react to opportunities from around the globe, we also try to be strategic and proactive with our resources.
It is for that reason that our Board approved a set of target markets last year. The targets were approved after an extensive process that included data analysis by the staff under the guidance of a special subcommittee of the board. We looked at country economic data but also at where the largest export markets are for our region’s top industry sectors and where around the globe the strongest clusters for these sectors are. We also examined where TDA could have the most beneficial effect and where we had organizations and individuals with whom we could partner.
When all was said and done, the TDA board approved ten target markets to focus on and be proactive in over the next 3 years. These include seven markets that marry geographic locations with industry sectors as well as three targets in which we will try to brand our region. Of the former, an example is life science in Beijing and Shanghai or information and communications technology in Hyderabad and Bangalore. In each of these geographies there are also secondary sectors to target, such as life sciences in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
The branding target markets are three urban regions from three different continents: London, Shenzhen and Sao Paulo. In each of these world class business regions we are going to make sure they understand Greater Seattle and its assets.
Over the last few months, TDA staff have been meeting with potential partners and experts in these industries and international markets to develop a 3-year work plan for each of the target markets. For example, we’ve had multiple meetings with Jack Cowan, the honorary French Consul and head of the French Chamber of Commerce in our region. We’ve met with the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, the Washington Israeli Business Council, companies in the key sectors and more.
These work plans will provide a variety of actions that TDA will take over the next three years to move the needle on these ten targets. They will be a tool for TDA to continually be proactive globally and to measure our effectiveness.
If you want to learn more about our target markets in general or about any of the specific work plans, please reach out to Tamara Thorhallsson at [email protected].