Virginia has business success in its DNA. Founded as a business venture in 1607, the Commonwealth of Virginia has stood for economic opportunity and carried the values necessary for business growth across the centuries. Today, Virginia’s pro-business environment, competitive operating costs, strategic location and transportation assets, strong education system, and highly-skilled workers are made for business and provide a solid foundation for growth.
Since January 2014, Virginia has successfully landed more than 760 economic development projects that represent over 59,000 direct new jobs and more than $13 billion in capital investment. In the past 12 months, the Commonwealth has vigorously competed to win numerous major projects, showcasing the state’s ability to accommodate a diverse spectrum of industries. From IT and manufacturing to beer and corporate headquarters, Virginia has welcomed both domestic and international leaders in their fields.
Microsoft established their Mecklenburg County data center in 2010, and this past November, the tech giant announced their fourth expansion. Over the past six years, Microsoft has invested more than $1.74 billion into their facility and created over 200 new jobs for Southern Virginia citizens.
ADP (Automatic Data Processing), which provides human resources services to more than 610,000 clients around the globe, announced plans to invest $32.25 million in a regional customer service center in Norfolk, creating 1,800 new jobs. Grant Thornton, another world-leading professional-services corporation, will consolidate several offices and grow its Arlington County location by adding 348 new jobs. The company will invest $15.75 million and retain nearly 1,000 jobs.
Italy-based ELDOR Corporation, whose key manufactured products include ignition systems, engine control units and management systems for hybrid and electric vehicles, will invest $75 million and create 350 new jobs to establish their U.S. production plant in Botetourt County. Governor McAuliffe first met with company officials at their headquarters during his June 2015 European Marketing Mission, following an initial meeting with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership at the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C.
Craft beer has experienced a banner 2016 in Virginia. On the heels of Stone Brewing opening their East Coast production brewery, both Deschutes Brewery and Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits selected the Roanoke Valley Region for the home of their East Coast operations. Combined, the Oregon and San Diego breweries will invest more than $130 million and create 286 new jobs, making Virginia the premiere craft beer destination on the East Coast.
In August, Dollar Tree, which has been based in Virginia since 1986, announced plans to invest $110 million for development of their corporate headquarters in Chesapeake. By winning this project, the Commonwealth retained 825 jobs and won 600 new jobs for Hampton Roads.
The fact that so many of the corporations call Virginia home demonstrates the Commonwealth’s business leadership position. More than 700 internationally-owned businesses from over 40 countries are located in the Commonwealth. As the headquarters for 37 Fortune 1000 firms and 55 firms with annual revenue over $1 billion, the Commonwealth offers a strong, stable, and entrepreneurial economy for all investors.
Virginia boasts competitive, stable operating costs, and a low, six percent corporate income tax—one of the lowest in the nation—that hasn’t increased since 1972. The unemployment insurance tax burden and workers’ compensation costs are among the lowest in the nation. Virginia offers a 5.3 percent or 6 percent state and local sales tax, which is seventh lowest in the nation. Building costs range from 4 percent to 22 percent below the national average, and the average cost per unit of electricity is 6.56 cents for the industrial sector, compared to 6.97 cents nationally.
The Commonwealth offers a variety of performance-based business incentives, including tax credits, exemptions and grants. Virginia views incentives as an investment in its economic future and as a basis for a rational business decision for both the Commonwealth and the companies.
Virginia’s central location on the Atlantic Coast and modern transportation infrastructure provide convenient access to the U.S. Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest markets. Virginia has the third largest state-maintained transportation network in the country, with six major interstate highways providing access to approximately 43 percent of the U.S. population that falls within a one day (10-hour) drive of Virginia. Ten railroads, including CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern Corporation, operate on the state’s network of nearly 3,400 miles of railway. Fourteen commercial airports serve Virginia, including Washington Dulles International.
The Commonwealth is especially attractive to international companies because the state is connected to the global economy in a way that many other U.S. states are not. The Port of Virginia, served by every major shipping line, offers direct connection to more than 100 foreign ports and reach to any country around the world. It has the deepest shipping channels on the U.S. East Coast, and is the only U.S. East Coast port currently capable of handling post-Panamax ships as first and last port of call. Virginia’s Washington-Dulles International Airport is a leading international gateway, providing non-stop flights to every continent in the world.
Virginia’s nationally-acclaimed education system, from its primary schools to its distinguished universities and community colleges, provides a steady pipeline of educated and skilled workers, and a solid foundation for growth that makes the state a great place for a global enterprise. Virginia is among the most educated states in the country, with more than 577,000 students enrolled in over 100 in-state institutions of higher education. Virginia’s education system also hosts 23 community colleges with transferrable programs across the state that partner with companies to offer customized workforce training programs. As a result, the state’s higher education system is the eleventh largest in the nation, and its resources are unsurpassed in terms of availability and quantity. A tradition of lifelong education means that Virginia’s workforce is consistently prepared for changing technologies, delivering a pipeline of skilled applicants for companies today and for industries of the future.
Virginians are the advantage for companies. The Commonwealth is a right-to-work state, and its workforce is readily recruitable, trained, highly productive and comes with the benefits of a strong work ethic and moderate cost. With a population of more than 8.3 million and a workforce of over 4.2 million, Virginia successfully supports the state’s substantial industry base.
Virginia’s economic diversity and resiliency are its strengths. The Commonwealth possesses unique advantages in many robust business clusters, including the cybersecurity, automotive, food and beverage, and aerospace industries. With one of the highest concentrations of technology workers in the country, Virginia has become a world-class center for emerging internet technology, software development, fiber optics and advanced communications companies. Advanced manufacturing is also a key growth sector for the Virginia economy, driving technology, productivity and innovation across all its industry sectors. Nearly every region of the Commonwealth relies on manufacturing operations as part of its overall economic base.
A diverse economy is critical to attracting and growing jobs of the 21st century, and Virginia is leading the charge in industries of the future and international trade.
The state’s competitiveness in the global arena and growth in key industry sectors is evidence that, more than 400 years later, Virginia continues to pioneer innovation, crafting contemporary programs that bolster economic development performance for the 21st century.
To learn more about Virginia’s rich history and world-class business climate, visit www.YesVirginia.org.
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