EDC's Work in County, Abroad Attracts Businesses
Gale Horton Gay | , WI Staff Writer | 8/15/2012, 12:21 p.m.
The EDC, with a staff of 65, has been working closely with several partners to ensure that businesses overseas are aware of opportunities in the county.
Last November state and county officials and business leaders - 100 individuals in all - participated in an international trade mission trip to India. Gov. Martin O'Malley and Baker led the trip.
McCall said 12 companies out of the group sign memorandums of understanding to work with partners in India. The trip culminated in $60 million in potential business opportunities coming to the state - $20 million to Prince George's County, McCall said.
Other outcomes from the India trip that EDC was involved in are: Angarai International announced an agreement with a Chennai, India company for a mobile applications project including the opening of an office in Greenbelt. Sheladia Associates will design and manage the construction of a 100-mile road in Orissa, India. Chesapeake Investment Group of Bowie announced a joint venture with Jassco of India and a $3 million investment for a natural foods project in Maryland. Potowmac Engineers of Capitol Heights announced deals for transformer equipment and security systems with a company in Mumbai, India.
EDC also facilitated a meeting for O'Malley and Baker with SilverWave to bring a JW Marriott to an undisclosed destination in Asia.
"We made those connections," said McCall. "We basically do all the legwork. Afterward we continue to work with them to grow and build their capacity."
Since that trip, EDC has hosted a delegation from India and is exploring organizing a trip to Brazil in September through the U.S. State Department to attend an international IT conference.
These overseas trade mission trips do not rely on taxpayers' dollars, McCall said. Expenses are covered by fees the department charges businesses such as handling logistics and following up on leads related to the trips.
EDC also is working with the U.S. State Department to develop business-to-business contacts for businesses with an interest in international affiliations.
Iannucci said the county is in the process of updating its economic development strategy, focusing on transit-oriented development. They also seek to grow its number of federal government contracts. Iannucci said Prince George's County is home to 25 percent of the federal workforce but only has 4 percent of federal office space.
"We want more government services located in the county," said Iannucci.
MCall said that EDC is working aggressively to serve the 15,000 businesses in the county. A new approach is its "Boots on the Ground Campaign," in which EDC staff is planning to make phone calls and personal visits to all.
"We want to be proactive," said McCall. "We want to be able to build relationships. If you have an issue, you'll know who to call."