Southwest Louisiana Offers Economic Development Opportunities

 

Southwest Louisiana is featured in the 2018 Louisiana Trade Guide as a prime area for foreign direct investment, as well as a great location for exporters.

In Southwest Louisiana you can enjoy a day of sun, sand, and surf on the coast of the “The Cajun Riviera,” or canoe the Ouiska Chitto River. You can hit the track or the casinos for Vegas-style gaming, visit museums with exhibits ranging from fine art to railroad history, and explore a re-created general store. Don’t leave without touring the Lake Charles Charpentier District, the architectural legacy of Michigan lumbermen who chopped down the trees here, then built their own distinct style of houses.

Allen Parish is diverse in culture and plentiful in natural resources and beauty, Allen Parish is where Cajun food and culture meet the timber-rich, piney woods of central Louisiana. Allen Parish is home to four Natural and Scenic Rivers, including the spring-fed Ouiska Chitto, which attracts canoeists and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the South. The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana makes its home in Allen Parish and operates Louisiana’s premier land-based casino resort, Coushatta Casino & Resort and Koasati Pines Golf Course, its 18-hole championship course near Kinder. The gaming and hospitality industries, along with a plywood manufacturing facility, three prison facilities and a natural gas relay facility are the major private sector employers in the parish. Allen Parish has some of the most fertile farmland in the South, producing primarily rice and soybeans. The parish is served by two federal highway systems and extensive rail facilities.

Beauregard Parish is home to such industries as paper and plastics production, chemical production and insurance providers. The area is centered on one of the largest aquifers in the world. The 4,200-acre Beauregard Parish Airport has a 5,495-foot north-south runway. The airport, located just minutes away from major industry, boasts the largest land area in the state and one of the largest in the nation. US Hwy 171 and 190 provide transportation arteries. There are abundant opportunities for Nature lovers with its lakes, wildlife preserve and natural scenic beauty. Just north of the parish is Fort Polk, the state’s largest military installation and home to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC).

Calcasieu Parish’s rich history combined with a modern, diversified economy and numerous recreational opportunities make this area a wonderful place to live and visit. The petrochemical industry is the mainstay economically for the parish, and the past decade has seen the aerospace and gaming industries broaden that base. The Port of Lake Charles is accessible to ocean-going vessels and is only 34 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the closest of any deep-water port in Louisiana. Chennault International Airpark is a major feature for the area with more than 10,000 feet of runway, capable of handling most commercial aircraft. Lake Charles is the home of McNeese State University, a four-year, fully accredited university, as well as Sowela Technical Community College, one of Louisiana’s largest vocational schools. An abundance of streams, rivers and lakes along with museums, art galleries and festivals make the parish a true paradise.

The beautiful natural scenery of Cameron Parish is something not to be missed. The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, a 180-mile drive through “Louisiana Outback” is a paradise which features beautiful plants and wildflowers and exotic wildlife, such as alligators, rare birds and many other colorful critters, all amidst the marshes and bayous of Southwest Louisiana. Cameron’s plentiful flora and fauna attract over 200,000 visitors each year, from nature lovers looking for native critters like alligators to photographers wanting to catch a breathtaking sunset or nautical scene, to bird watchers eyeing the vast variety of species found here, to beachcombers enjoying the shoreline. Cameron Parish offers a great opportunity for hunting and fishing and is a natural backdrop for industry, especially oil and gas. With its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, it is no wonder that pipeline companies, petroleum companies, marine support vessels, offshore drilling operations and associated businesses top the list of revenue-producing businesses for the parish. For sportsmen, the area is known as “Sportsman’s Paradise” which has easy access to fishing, hunting, and wildlife which makes the region among the best in the world.

People from all over the world visit Jefferson Davis Parish to enjoy and experience rich Cajun and Indian culture. The film industry has long since discovered the unique scenery of Jeff Davis Parish, and has featured the parish in many productions. Four main transportation arteries run through the parish with I-10, US 90 and US 190 east to west, and US 165 to the north and Jeff Davis is strategically located between two major markets. The parish’s economic base includes health care services, shipbuilding, construction, agriculture, and oil field services. The Jennings Airport has a 5,000 foot runway, and the parish has many industrial sites including the Lacassine Industrial Park on I-10.

Learn more about the SWLA Economic Development Alliance.

Earlybird Discount Offered for Annual EXIM Bank Conference

 

The EXIM Bank’s 2018 Annual Conference is on tap for April 19-20.

The event presents a unique opportunity for American small business exporters to grow their international sales. During the conference, you will learn how to:

  • Find new buyers
  • Reduce nonpayment risk
  • Extend credit terms to customers
  • Obtain loans for you and your buyers
  • Finance large projects

Other benefits include:

  • Hearing the brightest minds in business, economic policy, media, and government discuss their thoughts on the U.S. and world economies and the changing landscape of the global marketplace
  • Participating in a variety of sessions on overcoming trade challenges and identifying opportunities
  • Networking at a reception and session breaks with more than 1,100 exporters and representatives of financial institutions, foreign trade partners, international buyers, and government officials.

Register by Friday, March 16 and save 15% off the regular registration fee.

The cost to small business participants is $315/person ($370/person after Friday, March 16, 2018). Small business is defined as having 500 or fewer employees. Seminars and meals are included.

To learn more and register, go to: EXIM 2018 Annual Conference.

Luster Products: Leader in African American Hair Care Products Celebrates 6oth Anniversary

Fred Luster, Sr.

 

Luster Products, Inc. , the leading African-American owned manufacturer of premium personal care products, is celebrating its 6oth anniversary this year. Luster Products’ brands include You Be-NaturalPink BrandS-CurlPCJ, and YOU. The company’s product lines serve men, women, children and the stylist market — worldwide.

Today, Luster Products, Inc. employs more than 400 people worldwide. Luster’s products are sold nationally and internationally through a dynamic sales force and numerous retail outlets. The company’s main facility – corporate offices, plant and warehouse – is situated on 17 acres in Chicago’s Stockyard Industrial Park. An aerosol production plant is located in suburban Blue Island, Illinois. The company also has a branch office in London.

The phenomenal growth and success of Luster Products, Inc. has been attributed to the business savvy and commitment of the company’s founder and first president, the late Fred Luster, Sr., a staff of hardworking, loyal employees, and a family spirit that permeates the entire organization.

Virgin Voyages to Create 300 Jobs at New Headquarters in Florida

 

Florida Governor Rick Scott recently announced that Virgin Voyages, a new cruise company by the global Virgin brands, has selected Plantation, Florida, for its new headquarters, which will create 300 new jobs. The company will also invest $15.9 million in the local community.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Virgin Voyages has selected Florida to locate their new headquarters, which will create more than 300 new jobs for families in South Florida. As a top tourism destination, the gateway to Latin America and one of the most business-friendly states, Florida is the best place for Virgin Voyages’ new headquarters.”

Thomas McAlpin, President and CEO of Virgin Voyages said, “Virgin brands have a long history of raising the bar in every industry we enter. We are proud to bring that mindset to the South Florida community and introduce new jobs and business opportunities to the area.”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin said, “We basically decided, ‘Let’s have a blank sheet of paper, let’s create the kind of voyage company that we would like to go on,’ and that’s what we’ve done.”

Virgin Voyages cited the strength of Broward County’s diverse, educated and multicultural workforce, infrastructure, quality of life, proximity to major seaports and a competitive tax and business environment as strategic reasons for headquarters location. Virgin Voyages will be hiring a range of roles in different departments from Finance to Customer Care.

This project was made possible through partnerships between the State of Florida, the City of Plantation, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and Broward County.

Peter Antonacci, CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc., said, “Broward County is the ideal location for Virgin to launch its new cruise line Virgin Voyages. Enterprise Florida’s Board of Directors are enthusiastic that Florida won this exciting new project.”

VISIT FLORIDA President & CEO Ken Lawson said, “Virgin Voyages decision to open headquarters in South Florida is fantastic news for tourism in our state. At VISIT FLORIDA, we are marketing the diversity and beauty of our state to the rest of the world. By creating more opportunities for travelers from around the world to experience Florida, Virgin Voyages is helping us make Florida the number one global destination, and I look forward to their continued success.”

Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “Congratulations to Virgin Voyages on locating their new headquarters in the Sunshine State. South Florida is an excellent choice for growing a company, with its strong business community and robust workforce. We look forward to your success.”

Bob Swindell, President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance said, “Congratulations Virgin Voyages, we are thrilled to be home to a company with the great potential to reinvent the cruise industry under the iconic Virgin flag.”

Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic of the City of Plantation said, “Plantation has a long reputation as a location of choice for game-changing companies like Virgin Voyages. We look forward to their success and are proud to be home to the newest Virgin brand.”

Mayor Beam Furr of Broward County said, “We’re glad that Virgin Voyages and other major global companies continue to choose Broward County for their headquarters operations. We look forward to the company’s continued growth as part of an important targeted industry for our community.”

Virgin Voyages’ first ship, of about 110,000 gross tons, will arrive at PortMiami in 2020. The ship will host more than 2,700 sailors and 1,150 spirited crew members. The first ship in the fleet will offer a range of Caribbean itineraries to ports that deliver Virgin styled and deeply social experiences. Future sailors are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com or follow @virginvoyages on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

World of Concrete Trade Show Hits Nine-Year Attendance High

 

World of Concrete 2018 exceeded expectations across the board, and concluded the 43rd edition as the largest World of Concrete in nine years. This signature event for the concrete & masonry industries drew 58,222 registered professionals, and featured more than 1,567 companies (including 302 brand new companies) exhibiting across more than 747,411 net square feet of exhibit space.

“This has been an incredible year – the success of World of Concrete 2018 helps solidify WOC as the only annual event for concrete & masonry professionals,” said Jackie James, Group Director, World of Concrete. “Having our largest event in nine years proves that the construction sector is going strong worldwide. Participants, both domestic and international, experienced the very best the industry has to offer in terms of suppliers, products, services and education, and we look forward to an even larger event at WOC 2019.”

World of Concrete established the Bob Weatherton Award to honor his contributions to the concrete industry. The award includes a $2,500 scholarship and a $200 gift card which was presented at the CIM National Board Meeting at WOC 2018. This year’s recipient of the Weatherton Award was Damien Bonis, who attends California State University – Chico. His presentation was “A Concrete Advantage: How the CIM Program Fosters Unique Research and Internship Opportunities.”

Concrete Industry Management (CIM) is a business program that has been developed specifically for the concrete industry to provide students with a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Concrete Industry Management. The program gives students entering the concrete work force industry experience early in their careers. In addition, CIM held its 13th annual unreserved silent and live auctions at World of Concrete. The silent and live auctions raised gross revenues of just over $1.1 million, setting a record for funds raised at WOC, and bringing a total of over $7 million to the CIM program in the past 13 years. More information on the CIM Program can be found at concretedegree.com

Despite a brief government shutdown, International Delegation Leaders and Delegates from across the globe made it to WOC 2018 to do business at this premier global event, including a large delegation from India organized by the American Embassy in New Delhi. Mr. Sanjay Mathur, CEO of UltraTech Cement Ltd. and Mr. Ramesh Joshi, Sr. VP, visited the event along with others from the delegation. WOC once again partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service to support U.S. exhibitors interested in expanding their international sales and to recruit international attendees to the show.

The International Buyer Program at World of Concrete featured Construction Market and Industry Specialists from the U.S. Commercial Service. A special Export Achievement Certificate was presented to Verti-Crete LLC (precast concrete wall systems mfg.) by the U.S. Commercial Service for their contribution and recent success in international trade at WOC. Modelco, from Algeria, and Verti-Crete signed a long-term contract (customer/supplier), with a strategic partnership vision for the Algerian market. The Export Achievement Certificate (EAC) was created in 2001 to recognize small and medium-sized U.S. enterprises that have successfully entered the international marketplace for the first time or that have successfully entered a new market. Mike Sharp and Brent Baker from Verti-Crete accepted the award.

World of Concrete 2019 will be held January 22-25; Seminars 21-25, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Chennault Named ‘Louisiana Airport of the Year’

Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles was honored by the Federal Aviation Administration with the “Louisiana Airport of the Year” award.

The award was presented at the 2018 FAA Southwest Regional Airport Conference in Fort Worth and accepted by Chennault representatives Randy Robb, Andrea LaFleur, Cortez Gallien, Loretta Hanks and John McMullen.

The award citation praises Chennault’s “utmost creativity” in developing a plan to create an alternate runway by widening and improving a parallel taxiway, followed by major rehabilitation of the main runway, resulting in two first-class runways. This plan avoids closure of the airport’s only runway for repairs, which would be “a catastrophic blow to the regional economy.” The new 8,000 x 150–foot alternate runway/taxiway “will allow the airport to maintain its contribution to the bustling of southwest Louisiana economy, while rehabilitating their primary runway.”

Chennault’s award citation states, “The airport’s efforts, coordination, and attention to the FAA’s standards of safety and operations, while utilizing the utmost creativity are the reasons Chennault International Airport Authority is being recognized for Airport of the Year.”

The FAA’s Airport of the Year award recognizes airports that “have created a positive safety culture, implemented sound and consistent capital planning, supported FAA initiatives and have enhanced safety at the airport.”

Chennault International Airport is an industrial airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana, operated by the Chennault International Airport Authority. The airport and its tenant companies employ more than 1,500 people, providing an annual economic impact of some $300 million. For more information, visit www.chennault.org.

Why Relationships Matter in Global Business

 

By Scott Ferguson

As Chief Executive Officer of an organization with a mission of growing trade, I often get asked a multitude of questions pertaining to the state of global commerce. The inquiries always revolve around the latest headline out of one country or another, or the most recent election, or just my take on the state of economic cooperation around the world.

But no matter the question my answer always stays the same: At the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) we remain focused on one thing—our network.

This may seem selfish, or like we don’t care about the news. But this is not the case. Far from it. It is because the common thread that runs through our association of 300-plus members in nearly 100 countries, is stronger and more consequential than any one lurch in the ever-changing, seesawing nature of trade policy. Because our members often play a critical role in the local, regional and national economies where they are based, the WTCA and its membership roster are frequently in a position to bridge the divides that form from one administration to the next. Our relationships with one another are the bedrock of our organization. This network empowers each of us to continue to enrich our local communities, regardless of the coming or receding political storms.

Being a global organization made up of businesses as diverse as our members comes with challenges, for certain. But being able to call on fellow World Trade Centers from Bogota to Belfast, and Boston to Beijing, in a climate that often feels unstable, is the true value of WTCA Membership. And it is why now, more than ever, relationships matter.

Scott Ferguson is Chief Executive Officer of the World Trade Centers Association.

This article was originally published in the USA Trade Guide.

Louisiana Trade Guide Focuses on Export Promotion and Foreign Direct Investment

Louisiana Trade Guide Cover
Louisiana Trade Guide Cover

 

Online Edition Available at Louisiana.Think.Global

 

A free resource for Louisiana companies involved in international trade is now available online and in print from the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC). The fourth edition of the Louisiana Trade Guide, published in partnership between the LSBDC and ThinkGlobal Inc., features statewide information and resources to help both exporters and foreign direct investors.

The colorful, magazine-style guide includes an international trade resources section that makes it easy to find resources and services providers throughout the state. The guide also features a welcome letter from Gov. John Bel Edwards, as well as an overview of international trade-related programs and services offered by Louisiana Economic Development.

“The Louisiana Small Business Development Center spearheaded the development of the new edition of the Louisiana Trade Guide,” says Rande Kessler, state director of LSBDC. “Having a single point of reference in print and online guide is a valuable tool for Louisiana exporters, foreign investors, and service providers. The guide is a must-have resource for both new exporters and for companies looking to expand into new markets.”

The new edition of the guide includes 10,000 print copies that are being distributed throughout Louisiana. The guide will be distributed to exporters throughout the state by the SBDC network, other state and local economic development agencies, and private sector service providers. Links to the digital edition also will be sent to U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

“The 2018 Louisiana Trade Guide includes an updated resource section, with comprehensive data about Louisiana service providers and trade-related resources,” says Greg Sandler, publisher at ThinkGlobal. “The guide also features expert advice and answers to frequently asked questions, along with information about key resources, such as economic development organizations, ports, and other service providers throughout the state.”

To read the Louisiana Trade Guide online, visit: http://Louisiana.Think.Global

 

Contacts For More Information

DeRon Talley, LSBDC

318-340-9353

dtalley@lsbdc.org

Greg Sandler, ThinkGlobal

800-581-8533, ext. 808

greg@thinkglobal.net

 

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Best Practices for Promoting Exports and Foreign Direct Investment

 

 

 

Tapping into global markets helps generate jobs and economic growth throughout the United States. According to a recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department, 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. The report, which draws on research by the Brookings Institution and the National League of Cities Center for Research & Innovation, notes that competition in today’s marketplace can be local, regional or global. The report also provides the following best practices to help local, state, and regional policymakers and business leaders develop global growth strategies.

Convene

Bring together regional and metropolitan economic leaders and assets – such as key corporations, service providers, workforce, and transportation infrastructure – to specifically identify your area’s advantages and competencies for export and investment promotion. Connect with businesses and develop strategies to better understand their needs.

Think Local

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to promoting exports and investment, and each community has unique market advantages. Identify your assets, and develop a brand. Gather local market insight and assess your industry strengths. When considering an investment attraction strategy, include operating costs, supply chain management, access to natural resources, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, access to technology, and quality of life in your assessment.

Foster Regional Collaboration

By creating a regional brand identity, and fostering collaboration, communities can successfully market themselves globally, and create effective export and investment plans.

Know Your Tools And Resources

Learn about the numerous federal, state, and local resources available on export.gov, which includes free access to tools such as the “Basic Guide to Exporting” and the “Trade Finance Guide.” For local assistance, contact your state trade office or the U.S. Commercial Service (see contact information in the resource section of this guide).

Tap into Global Markets

More than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. Successful exporters recognize that their competition may no longer be with each other, but with regions around the world.

Develop a Plan

With a regional identity and key players around the table, develop an actionable plan to promote exports and investment. The Brookings Institution has published “10 Steps to Delivering a Successful Metropolitan Export Plan,” to help business leaders take advantage of best practices and start planning.

Educate

Ensure that companies in your area know whether they have an exportable product or service and know about available resources at the federal and state level to help grow their business. Broaden the definition of exports to include activities, such as services exports, international visitors, and services to foreign students. For example, facilitate a briefing or seminar series to educate businesses about federal and state investment and export assistance resources and financing.

Improve Access to Information

One way to share up-to-date resources is to make sure that your city or regional website has a section dedicated to business assistance that provides information on opportunities and events related to exporting. Consider linking to local, state and federal trade resources.

Support Your Export Pipeline

Help identify export-ready companies and refer them to regional, state and federal assistance providers, such as the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). For investment promotion, work with state and local government agencies, local businesses, and/or universities, to identify foreign countries and cities that may already have a relationship with your city.

Partner with Higher Education Institutions

Higher education ranks among the country’s top 10 service exports. Tuition and living expenses paid by international students and their families brought in nearly $21 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2010-2011 academic year. As a source of investment, exports, and workforce development, educational institutions should be involved in your export and investment planning discussions. Area institutions also can serve as key partners, with a strong knowledge base, research, and potential for successful internship and workforce development programs. Establish a Business-to-Business Mentorship Program Connect established exporters and investors in your area with growing businesses to share expertise and know-how in a particular market or sector. Closely affiliated with the U.S. Commercial Service, the 56 District Export Councils nationwide are organizations comprised of export leaders from their local business community.

Consider a Foreign Trade Zone

A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) helps encourage exports and investment by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other savings. local governments and organizations, such as ports or economic development organizations, can apply to create an FTZ in their communities.

Organize

Consider organizing trade and investment missions to key global markets to promote your region for economic development. State trade offices and federal export promotion agencies, as well as non-profit trade organizations, often coordinate missions abroad. Globally, high-ranking U.S. federal officials, state governors and mayors are viewed favorably as top leaders representing their markets to tout its exports and its winning attributes for investment.

Build Exports and Investment into Your Broader Economic Strategy

With an eye to growth and global competitiveness, seek alignment between exports and foreign direct investment; innovation in manufacturing and services; investments in freight and logistics; and the development of a globally fluent workforce. A region’s success in the global marketplace can be enhanced with coordinated messages about trade and investment opportunities.

Discover trade promotion and foreign direct investment resources in the online edition of the USA Trade Guide.

 

After Initial Export Success in Asia, How Do You Scale?

 

Tractus Asia’s business Inc.ubator service allows you to have dedicated sales, marketing or technical support staff in Asia to grow your exports cost effectively and minimize risk. The situation is typical. You make a commitment to sell into Asia, achieve some initial export success after attending regional trade shows, and then you sign-on dedicated distributors in one or more markets. But, exports plateau or don’t meet your growth expectations. What’s wrong? Asia is the world’s largest market for your product, but you are underwhelmed by the performance of your distributors. The markets you are servicing, such as China, might have complexities that are frustrating your customers. Or perhaps, you are unable to operate your business model in Thailand in the same way as you would in the U.S. because of regulatory issues. If you can’t operate with the same business model, what do you do?

The simple answer is to have ‘boots on the ground’ in key markets – dedicated sales, technical support, or business development staff to troubleshoot these issues. The problem is the cost. To capitalize on opportunities in multiple markets in Asia – China, India, and Southeast Asia – you would have to incorporate in each of your key markets, hire staff to support your distributors, agents and customers, as well as manage operating a micro-multinational business across Asia. Not only is the investment and operating cost prohibitive, but how can you mitigate the costs and risk of needing to exit a market should you not be successful? The cost of closing a company in Asia can be 2 to 3 times what it takes to incorporate, and can take years to unwind. How do you balance your need for an in-market presence to grow your business with the costs and risks of operating a new business up to 10,000 miles away across the Pacific?

Tractus’ business Inc.ubator service is the answer. As a business Inc.ubator client you leverage Tractus’ network of offices throughout Asia to cost effectively support your business growth and minimize risk. Tractus works with you to recruit needed talent – technical sales, business development, customer support or marketing – based on a clear understanding of your needs. We conduct interviews, reference checks, and administer standardized tests as required. We then recommend a short-list of two or three finalist candidates that you interview in collaboration with our senior managers and directors. Once a finalist is selected, Tractus acts as the legal employer arranging for salary and statutory benefits to be paid and assists you to manage their performance. Your new Asia-based staff, while legally a Tractus employee, is dedicated full-time to your business.

We provide office space, administrative support, and most importantly, oversight and guidance by one of our senior managers or directors. While your new staff reports directly to you, Tractus provides the needed indirect supervisory support to ensure they are not ‘out of sight and out of mind’.

Our clients come from a wide range of industry sectors and have leveraged Tractus’ business Inc.ubator to accelerate their market entry, scale their exports to key markets in Asia, and successfully grow their international business. Please visit our website, www.tractus-asia.com, review our case studies and learn how Tractus’ business Inc.ubator can propel your Asian growth strategy or contact us on inc.ubator@tractus-asia.com for more information.