As Northeast Ohio works to compete on the international stage, foreign direct investment (FDI) represents an important piece of our regional economy. More and more, foreign-owned companies are looking to Ohio as they seek to expand their operations abroad, which is benefiting the state as a whole and our region in particular. To that end, 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.
With more than 3,400 international establishments in Ohio, hailing from more than 40 countries, foreign-owned companies are major economic drivers. In fact, foreign-owned companies employ more than 200,000 workers throughout the state, showing just how important FDI is to Ohio’s economy. While dozens of countries have operations in Ohio, six countries (Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France and Switzerland) make up 75 percent the state’s total international employment. The motor vehicle industry comprises the largest employment segment overall.
As foreign-owned companies look to expand their operations across the globe, Northeast Ohio has become a target destination for many. The region is home to more than 600 foreign-owned companies, with significant investments coming from countries such as Germany, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and France. As international companies continue to make investments in our region, we are reaping the economic benefits.
International Businesses Making Investments in Northeast Ohio
For example, in late 2015 AkzoNobel, headquartered in the Netherlands, opened a $10 million research facility in Strongsville, furthering its commitment to Northeast Ohio. The facility will house more than 120 employees, including 65 highly trained scientists and technicians. The $10 million facility will support several of the company’s Performance Coatings businesses, including coil, extrusion and packaging coatings. Aside from its Strongsville location, AkzoNobel also has Ohio operations in Columbus, Huron, Springfield and Berea.
Nestlé is another example of a foreign-owned firm that is growing its Northeast Ohio presence. In 2015, the company launched its $50 million Research and Development Center at its Solon campus, establishing the facility as a center of excellence for the global company. A year and a half prior to the completion of Nestlé’s R&D Center, Nestlé relocated its $2 billion frozen pizza operation from Chicago to Solon, making Northeast Ohio an important piece of its global business. Today, Nestlé employs more than 2,000 workers throughout the Cleveland area.
As the motor vehicle industry represents one of the largest investment areas in Ohio by foreign-owned firms, Northeast Ohio has seen an uptick in this area as well. A recent example is German-based Borgers opening a facility in Norwalk, Ohio. The auto parts supplier, which operates in 24 locations across the world, opened its $60 million Norwalk facility in October 2015. In total, the facility employs more than 80 workers, making it an important win for the Norwalk community.
As Northeast Ohio competes on a global scale for business, the influx of foreign direct investment is positively impacting the region’s economy. Foreign-owned firms are often significant employers, creating jobs and opportunities for our residents. As the region works to grow its economy, FDI will continue to play a crucial role in its success.
Throughout the state and Northeast Ohio, a number of economic development organizations, including JobsOhio and Team NEO, are working to ensure that international businesses know about the many benefits of doing business here. To learn more about how state, regional and local groups are working to attract FDI to Ohio, please follow the links below.