By Jim Schellinger, Indiana Secretary of Commerce
In Indiana, our economy is firing on all cylinders. Thanks to focused and diligent leadership at the state level over the last 13+ years, we have been successful in creating a business climate that is now recognized as the best in the Midwest and among the top five in the nation. With a balanced budget, a sizable rainy day fund and a triple-A credit rating, homegrown companies and those new to the Hoosier state can grow with the confidence and peace of mind that long-term, fiscal predictability provides. Job creators here enjoy low taxes, low costs and reduced regulations that let them focus on what matters most – their employees and the bottom line.
As I travel the world to share Indiana’s story, our reputation as ‘A State That Works’ more often than not precedes me. And we aren’t slowing down yet. Under the leadership of Governor Eric J. Holcomb, we’re working day in and day out to take Indiana to the next level. A critical part of that vision is propelling Indiana to the forefront of a global economy, ensuring that we lay a strong foundation for not only the current generation, but for many future generations of Hoosiers.
From Indiana to India – And Back
In his efforts to take Indiana to the world – and to bring the world back to Indiana – Governor Holcomb logs a significant number of miles in the air. “I’ll get on a red-eye right now if it means creating more opportunity for the people in this state,” he said recently.
That mindset paid off handsomely in 2017 when India-based tech giant Infosys chose central Indiana for its flagship U.S. Technology and Innovation Center and committed to creating 2,000 new, high-skilled jobs. At the time, Infosys Vice President Anurag Varma called Indiana “a cultural fit” for the company. And we agree.
In just a short time, Infosys has strategically woven itself into the burgeoning tech sector in central Indiana, and, even more, made a significant impact on the state’s economy – both locally and internationally. The relationships formed between the state and Infosys solidified and expanded quickly, leading to a new sister-state partnership between Indiana and the government of Karnataka – home to the company’s headquarters in Bangalore, India – that will pave the way for increased economic collaboration and future business investment.
Less than one year after Infosys’ announcement to set up shop in Indiana, the company strengthened its commitment in 2018, launching plans for a state-of-the-art U.S. Education Center to be established as part of a sprawling campus that will house up to 3,000 tech industry jobs by 2023. The “huge win for Indiana,” as the governor said, “will bring 10,000 future Infosys employees to Indiana from across the country for training alongside its U.S. customers, bolstering Indianapolis’ reputation as the Midwest’s premier technology hub.”
Last fall, Governor Holcomb and I joined Infosys President Ravi Kumar and other Infosys executives for an historic day as we broke ground on the new building, joined by a group of Infosys employees who had already been hired in Indiana. “We will build the skills of the digital future with a relentless focus on education and learning,” he said. “There’s no better place than Indiana to train future workers.”
Laser-Focused on Business Growth
A company of Infosys’ size and stature could have chosen virtually any city for its first U.S. tech hub and educational campus. Certainly, it had plenty of suitors. But according to Kumar, “Indiana is in the right place, at the right time, with the right business climate.” He cited additional reasons his company chose Indiana: our incredible academic ecosystem, proximity to numerous clients, and our ability to provide employees with a great cost of living and quality of life. Additionally, he said, the IEDC and the civic community in Indiana “make doing business easy.”
That’s a sentiment shared by many of the job creators we work with. SF Motors, for example, which is investing $160 million to establish operations in Mishawaka, Indiana, cited “government support from Indiana” as the number one reason for choosing to locate here. The China-based global intelligent vehicle (EV) company acquired AM General’s commercial plant to serve as its primary U.S.-based plant where its Hoosier workforce will produce at least two lines of its first EV models.
And Germany-based Saturn Petcare, which is establishing its first facility outside of Europe in the west central region of Indiana, picked Terre Haute after evaluating options and future sites for more than five years. CEO Hubert Schiermeier cited our central location and strong infrastructure as competitive factors, as well as the “tremendous support and collaboration at the state and local levels.” Following visits by both the governor and myself in Germany with company executives throughout the negotiation process, Saturn Petcare expects to begin production of its private-label pet food in Indiana in 2020.
Broadening Our Horizons
Under Governor Holcomb’s leadership, the state has increased and expanded its commitment and focus on international business development. With year after year of record-breaking job commitments and an unemployment level that has remained below the U.S. average for more than five years, we know that growing Indiana’s workforce, businesses and industries will require more than organic growth within the state. It will require focused, if not aggressive, recruitment from around the nation and the world.
In just the first two years of his administration, the governor has led seven international economic development trips – already matching similar efforts made by the previous two governors during their full administrations – to build relationships and attract new jobs for Indiana. In 2018 alone, our economic development team traveled to 17 different countries and strengthened relationships at home too, hosting international delegations from 36 countries and territories.
Here in the heart of the Heartland, we already enjoy a diverse international economy. With more than 950 foreign-owned business establishments supporting 193,000 jobs, Indiana is home to the highest percentage of private sector jobs from foreign-owned firms in the Midwest. And that number continues to grow.
Last year, Indiana welcomed 47 commitments from international businesses representing 15 countries and territories to locate or grow here. Together, they plan to invest $3.2 billion in their Indiana operations – more than tripling our FDI over the last three years – and create up to 6,521 new quality jobs for residents. Companies like Japan-based Daifuku Wynright, UK-based DS Smith, Germany-based ElringKlinger, Italy-based Filtrec S.p.A., Australia-based SalesPond and Brazil-based Solinftec made the decision to set up shop in Indiana, while international firms already operating here, such as dormakaba (Switzerland), MonoSol (Japan), Omen USA (Israel), RB (UK) and Trelleborg Sealing Solutions (Sweden) made plans to expand further in the Hoosier state.
Full Speed Ahead
As we head into 2019, we’ve got more in store for these efforts to strengthen and build new international partnerships that will create more opportunities for the people of Indiana. Simultaneously, here stateside, we’re focused on ensuring that global businesses and top talent have the support and resources needed to succeed in Indiana by investing in workforce development and training, industry innovation, quality of place, and of course, connectivity.
As Indiana’s pro-growth reputation continues to spread around the world, we are investing in projects that will further separate us from our competition and ensuring that Hoosiers are connected to national and international markets. This year, we welcomed Indiana’s first, year-round, non-stop transatlantic flight, connecting talent and businesses between the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, creating more efficient access to Europe and beyond.
With plans to open up even more markets, we’re looking forward to hosting the Routes Americas conference in 2019, welcoming airports, airlines, tourism authorities and governments as they work to plan future routes across the globe. Hosted in our capital city, Indiana’s world-class event hosting, Hoosier hospitality, and number one airport in North America will be on full display for visitors and decision makers alike.
A Bright Future
In 2018, we celebrated huge milestones in increased connectivity, talent attraction and workforce training. We broke jobs records, investment records, and foreign direct investment records. The only thing we didn’t break was our promise to keep Indiana on the right path to success for centuries to come.
As Indiana’s governor will tell you, our aspiration is that Indiana be one of the leading states in the country by any measure. We’re well on our way, and we invite you to visit and learn about the many benefits of doing business in Indiana for yourself. Not only do we have a great business climate, but we have great people. When businesses choose to invest in Indiana, they’re choosing to invest in our people who make our state the best place in America to live, work, play and stay.
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/indiana_ed for local economic development office directory listings.