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Online Training Course: Foreign Direct Investment and Exporting

Date: March 10, 2020Time: 11:45 am - 3:00 pm

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This course teaches the core components of bringing the world economy to your community’s front door. Foreign direct investment (FDI) and Exporting are now essential components of a local economic development strategy. Attendees will learn how to attract foreign investors, from identifying targeted sectors to engaging new business. They will also explore how to facilitate exports in their community, with an emphasis on how existing federal and state programs can assist. The course will cover all aspects of doing business with foreign entities, from cultural differences to tax and financing issues.


Course Highlights:

• Understanding how the federal government specifically supports EDOs in pursuit of FDI and growing exports, especially among smallto medium-sized businesses
• In-depth coverage of how to make the most of trade shows and trade missions, including working with elected officials and dealing with the press
• Explanation of why an investor would be interested in setting up operations in the U.S., and the means by which they may undertake investment, from mergers and acquisitions to new greenfield development
• Private and public financing programs that ensure exporters of any size have access to capital and insurance
• How foreign business climates differ from that of the U.S., and how to navigate in new markets as well as welcome different cultures into your community
• Review of trade policy, including what steps can be taken if a company encounters trade barriers such as tariffs or unnecessary regulation



All times are EST and are subject to change.

March 10

11:45 - 12:00 pm

Introduction & Welcome

12:00 - 12:45 pm

Introduction to Foreign Direct Investment
In 2014, foreign investors controlled more than $1.5 trillion worth of U.S.-based businesses. Foreign direct investment (FDI) generates not just jobs and taxes for a community; it also provides “spillover effects” in the form of innovation and international exposure. First, this session will provide an overview of why economic developers should pursue FDI, followed by a discussion of the role of government, nonprofits and private industry.

12:45 - 1:00 pm

Short Break

1:00 - 2:00 pm

The Investor’s Perspective
This section investigates the types of investors in the United States, including where investment is occurring and how the U.S. measures up against other countries regarding FDI. It also considers ways to engage with different kinds of investment models—subsidiaries, joint ventures, and branches, as well as different types of visas that investors may be interested in.

2:00 - 3:00 pm

Attracting Foreign Investors
As communities actively work to attract foreign direct investment, the competition for the attention of foreign investors is getting more intense. As a result, practitioners must develop well thought-out strategies for attracting foreign capital that target investment in industries most aligned with the community’s clusters. Practitioners must also actively build relationships to build a standout reputation for their community and keep their areas fresh in the investor’s mind. This session outlines how to develop effective attraction strategies and what economic developers can expect from trade missions and trade shows.


March 17

12:00 - 1:30 pm

Navigating New Markets
Working with international partners presents unfamiliarity to both economic developers and investors. From dealing with cultural nuances to helping new investors adjust to new environments, this session will delve into the challenges practitioners faces when doing business across country lines. Topics in this session include doing due diligence, smoothing cultural misunderstandings, and navigating negotiations with foreign investors. This session will also consider the challenges that investors face, such as a lack of knowledge of incentive programs.

1:30 - 1:45 pm

Short Break

1:45 - 3:00 pm

Federal Resources for FDI
The federal government has several resources available to help communities promote FDI. Many of these resources address federal “red tape” issues that may be hampering the flow of investment into communities. This session will provide attendees with an understanding of major federal programs that facilitate FDI.


March 24

12:00 - 12:45 pm

The Rationale for Promoting Exports
Exporting is an essential economic driver. Industries that export goods and services generate local wealth and jobs that stay within communities. Business sectors that export benefit from increased competition which leads to the development of better products through technical innovation and give their host community a more stable and resilient economic base. Economic developers should know the challenges that businesses face in setting up their export activities, as well as the global trends that are likely to drive further increases in trade.

12:45 - 1:45 pm

The Economic Developer’s Role in Exporting
Economic developers contribute to building an exporting economy by giving existing businesses the tools and needed resources to export. This session will cover the various types of technical assistance EDOs provide to companies interested in exporting and businesses currently exporting. This session will present examples of business services offered by EDOs that help businesses overcome barriers to start exporting and others that support existing exporters that wish to expand into new markets. Attendees will also learn about the state governments’ role and resources as well as gain understanding of regional programs that facilitate exporting.

1:45 - 2:00 pm

Short Break

2:00 - 3:00 pm

Federal Resources: Advocacy and Representation
The federal government essentially has two roles when it comes to helping American firms export; developing international trade policy and undertaking export promotion activities. The policy aspect of the federal government’s role is centered on eliminating trade barriers, bureaucratic problems and unfair trading practices abroad, in order to make American products more competitive. The federal government’s export promotion activities include export assistance services, export promotion and market development, financing and insurance, and advocacy. This session will provide further detail on both roles.


March 31

12:00 - 1:15 pm

Expanding your Exporting Sales & Risk Management
Savvy economic developers should be aware of the challenges that businesses may face in exporting, and the tools that are available to mitigate risk. This session will introduce the key types of insurance and financing programs that companies new to exporting should have access to.

1:15 - 1:30 pm

Short Break

1:30 - 2:45 pm

Federal Resources for Exporting Finance
This session will provide attendees with an understanding of the functions of the federal programs that facilitate exporting, such as the many programs facilitated by the Small Business Administration, OPIC, and the Department of Agriculture. Our instructor will provide useful tips for EDOs to get the most out of these resources.

2:45 - 3:00 pm


IMPORTANT: In order to receive full IEDC certification credit for this course and a certificate indicating course completion, participants must attend all three webinar sessions and participate in the discussion forum during week one and week two. If there is a conflict with one of the webinar dates, IEDC will provide the webinar recording upon request. We will not issue a certificate until the recording was viewed. We will not provide this accommodation for a registrant more than once in a course so please plan accordingly if you would like to receive credit for attending. Please email prodev@iedconline.org for requesting this accommodation.



Steve Weathers, CEcD
President & CEO
Erie County Industrial Development Agency
Buffalo, NY

Steve Weathers was named President and CEO of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency in 2013. Prior to his role at the Erie County IDA, Steve was President and CEO of the World Trade Center San Diego. He also served as the President and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, where he led the effort to launch the World Trade Center Savannah as part of fully integrated international economic development strategy. Steve has also served as CEO and President of the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) where he led Rocket Ventures as its President & Managing Director. During his time at RGP in Toledo, Ohio, the organization assumed a leadership role that led to the creation of more than 7,200 new high-paying, high-skilled jobs in the region. Steve led the effort to create Rocket Ventures (RV), the region’s first ever pre-seed venture capital fund. Rocket Ventures grew to become a $22.5 million early-state investment fund comprised of $7.5 million of private investment capital, as well as a $15 million grant from the State of Ohio. Rocket Ventures created more than 70+ new technology companies in a three-year period.

Steve has been in economic development for more than 20 years, with 11 of those years in San Diego, California as Vice President of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Through the years, Steve has been involved in the attraction retention, growth and start-up of more than 500 companies. Some of his most significant and notable successes during his economic development career have been the attraction of the Novartis Genomic Research Center, Gateway Computers headquarters, the LEGO Theme Park and the SPAWAR Defense headquarters to the San Diego region, as well as the attraction of the GEICO, Citigroup and Intuit Software national service centers to the Tucson region.

Currently, Steve serves on the board of the International Economic Development Council, State of New York Economic Development Council, Red Cross of Western New York, The Beverly Gray Entrepreneurial Center (a women and minority business incubator).



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This course meets the professional development requirements for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam. CEcDs earn recertification credits for participation.




By Jan 31

February 1-28

After Feb 28

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Refunds less a $75 cancellation fee will be issued for all cancellations received in writing to fax: (202) 223-4745 or email: prodev@iedconline.org at least 10 business days prior to the course - please allow 3-4 weeks. All registrations regardless of payment status are subject to the $75 cancellation fee. No refunds or credit transfers to a future course will be issued for cancellations received within 10 business days of the course. Telephone cancellations are not accepted. Attendee substitutions for a course may be made at any time prior to the course.