Jim Schellinger (1)

Jim Schellinger tells fDi about forging global connections and bringing in tourists.

Q: How would you best characterise your economic development strategy for the state? What are your top priorities?

A: In Indiana, our economy is firing on all cylinders. In order to harness that momentum, we’re not just attracting innovators and helping small businesses scale quickly, we’re proactively targeting key markets – domestic and international – to grow our economy from the outside in. State governor Eric Holcomb talks frequently about his vision of bringing Indiana to the world and the world back to Indiana, and we’re laser-focused on making that happen. By prioritising Indiana’s global connectivity, we’ve had a 300% increase in our state’s foreign direct investment in just three years, and we’re proud to be home to a global economy that now supports more than 1000 foreign-owned business establishments that provide 193,000 jobs to locals.

Today, Indiana is more connected to the world than ever before. Last year, we secured our state’s first non-stop transatlantic flight from Indianapolis to Paris, and state leaders continue working to expand domestic and international flights for airports statewide. And we’re putting money behind it: the governor recently allocated $20m to increasing international flights in his Next Level Connections plan.

As part of our commitment to travelling the world sharing Indiana’s story and strengthening international partnerships, the governor and I made two trips to Asia this fall to meet with business, industry and government leaders in South Korea, Japan, China and India. Those trips allowed us to strengthen our existing relationships with Asia-based businesses, thank CEOs for their contributions to Indiana, and share the state’s competitive advantages with those yet to locate in Indiana.

Q: What unique selling points does Indiana have that makes it attractive for inward investments? How can the state stand out in a competitive market?

A: Each week, companies from across the country and around the world are choosing to locate and grow in Indiana where we offer a competitive business climate with low taxes, limited regulations and a highly skilled workforce.

In Indiana, we are traditionally humble, and we tend to let our accomplishments speak for themselves. But we’re done being modest. Simply put, Indiana is the best place to live, work, play and stay, and we want the whole world to know it. Here at the Crossroads of America, businesses have easy access to customers around the country and all over the world. We’re ranked first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation for doing business, and we continue to make unprecedented investments in our communities and regions across the state.

Indiana boasts 45 miles of shoreline and is home to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore which attracts more than two million visitors every year. Not to mention our capital city, which attracts 28.2 million visitors who provide nearly $5bn in total economic impact annually. We have three international airports, including the number one airport in North America (Indianapolis International Airport), and every year we have the honour of hosting the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500. Above all else, though, is our people. Indiana is rich with genuine people invested in their communities and in taking Indiana to the next level.

Q: As a state with a strong manufacturing base, what impacts do tariffs have? Are you worried about a trade war?

A: In Indiana, we’re committed to supporting businesses and the quality careers they provide. We’re maintaining a direct line of open communication with federal partners to advocate for trade policy that supports our growing business relationships across Indiana and around the world. As the governor has said, there have always been turbulent times as well as good times. It is easy to be a partner during the good, but it is during these times of uncertainty when true bonds and friendships are forged. Indiana is committed to our partnerships near and far, and that is appreciated and valued everywhere we travel. I couldn’t be more encouraged by the relationships we’re building around the world and what they mean for our economy, but more importantly for our people, now and for generations to come.

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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