In late April, a delegation from Northeast Ohio travelled to Hannover, Germany for Hannover Messe, the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology. As Northeast Ohio works to compete in the global economy, trade fairs like Hannover Messe serve as prime outlets to showcase our region’s innumerable business assets to the world.
Team NEO, along with JobsOhio, the Greater Akron Chamber, the City of Akron, Summit County, the City of Fairlawn, the City of Mentor, the City of Wooster, the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce and the Wayne Economic Development Council were all in attendance at this year’s fair, which was especially significant as the United States served as the partner country – an honor that warranted a visit from President Obama himself. Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor was also in attendance, writing this op-ed that appeared in the Plain Dealer prior to her departure.
In all, Hannover Messe attracted 190,000 visitors, with 30,000 from EU countries, 6,000 from China and 5,000 from the United States. This tremendous showing demonstrates the value of trade fairs like Hannover Messe and the increasing importance of marketing our region’s assets abroad.
President Obama, Chancellor Merkel Visit JobsOhio Booth, Chat with Beachwood-Based MakerGear
On the opening day of the fair, Ohio received special attention as President Obama and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, visited JobsOhio’s booth. Of the 28 states with exhibits, Ohio and Kentucky were the only states honored with a visit from both leaders.
During their visit, they spoke with Rick Pollack, Founder and CEO of MakerGear, a Beachwood-based company that specializes in 3D printing. In a press release, Pollack commented on this special occasion, saying that: “To be able to share our story with President Obama and Chancellor Merkel is such a rare opportunity. President Obama has taken additive manufacturing seriously, and he sees the positive effect it is having on so many different industries.”
As Ohio continues to play a leading role in the area of additive manufacturing, the meeting between MakerGear, President Obama and Chancellor Merkel provided a unique opportunity to highlight what one Ohio company is doing in this space. Home to America Makes, the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3D printing, which is located in Youngstown, our state is a key contributor to the many innovations helping to shape the future of additive manufacturing in America. As such, this meeting was especially important in bringing even greater attention to the work taking place throughout our region and state.
The Ohio Advantage
Throughout the week in Hannover, representatives from Northeast Ohio were on hand, actively meeting with companies and making connections in an effort to tout the many benefits of doing business in our region. As a state, Ohio is consistently praised for its business-friendly environment, recognized as having one of the top five business climates in the country. The state’s business climate is one of the many factors that has helped attract the nearly 4,000 international companies to set up operations here.
Northeast Ohio in particular is a major benefactor of foreign direct investment (FDI), as the region is home to more than 600 foreign-owned businesses. Companies like AkzoNobel, Nestlé and Bridgestone are just a few examples of foreign-owned companies with significant operations in Northeast Ohio, with new establishments setting up shop every year. Many of these companies are attracted to Northeast Ohio as the region offers easy market access, a skilled workforce and a low cost of doing business.
While selling our region’s business-related assets is an ongoing process, events like Hannover Messe provide unique opportunities to generate even greater exposure. This year’s fair proved especially powerful in highlighting our state and region and we hope to build on this momentum in the months ahead.