June 4, 2024

EDA Leads Regions to Success in the Worldwide Economy

The U.S. Economic Development Administration's (EDA) mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda and prepare American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. EDA makes targeted grants to create jobs, support innovation, and encourage private investment in communities across the country. An important component of private investment is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which is funding made by foreign companies or individuals in the United States.

As funding from groundbreaking Biden-Harris Administration legislation, such as the CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the American Rescue Plan Act, help drive regional growth they are also priming these regions to be even more competitive in the global marketplace.  These foreign investments are not just about an influx of capital, it’s about forging new global trade relationships that foster American jobs at home while expanding the reach of our goods and services worldwide. Supporting FDI and U.S. exports is one of EDA’s investment priorities, which help ensure our grant portfolios enable regional economies to prosper and become more resilient.

EDA’s long history of connecting both FDI and domestic private investment to federal projects has resulted in a 10-to-1 return, with over $80 billion in private funds (PDF) supercharging over $7 billion in EDA funding just since 2018.

Boosting America’s regional economies is an investment in America’s people, places and potential. Strengthening our supply chains, establishing new trade initiatives and commercial supply chains to benefit U.S. businesses, and helping small business export their goods and services to new markets benefits communities and regional economies here at home.

Tech Hubs Highlighted at SelectUSA

The Tech Hubs program is a prime example of how EDA is encouraging increased FDI and U.S. exports. The program, enacted as part of the CHIPS and Science Act, aims to strengthen U.S. economic and national security through funding to regions with the assets, resources, and potential to become globally competitive in the technologies and industries of the future. It provides an opportunity for both domestic and foreign companies.

The program will be highlighted at this month’s SelectUSA Investment Summit. The annual conference is the highest profile event in the United States to facilitate FDI by connecting thousands of investors, companies, economic development organizations (EDOs), and industry experts.

The Tech Hubs program and the 31 inaugural Designees will have a dedicated presence at SelectUSA, providing them with an important opportunity to showcase their regions, companies, and technologies and to connect with global investors and global businesses.

Build Back Better Regional Challenge Attracts FDI

EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge awardees are attracting both foreign and domestic investment to their communities. The program awarded $1 billion to 21 regional coalitions across the country to transform their regional economies by growing an industry sector.

The South Kansas Coalition, in Wichita, was awarded $51 million to strengthen the country’s competitive advantage and global market share in aerospace production. The coalition, which brings together local government, higher education, and industry, is building upon the region’s strength in aerospace to advance smart manufacturing.

The focus on aerospace and manufacturing led Australia’s largest independent aerospace composite manufacturer, Quickstep, to choose the Wichita region for its first U.S. engineering and manufacturing facility. The 25,000 square foot facility is expected to begin production this year.

Americas Competitiveness Exchange Fosters International Collaboration

The Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) represents an opportunity to strengthen economic ties and establish global commercial relationships and FDI partnerships. A permanent member of the ACE Committee, EDA works in coordination with the U.S. Department of State and the Organization of American States to bring together high-level delegates from across the Americas to explore sites, exchange knowledge, and look for opportunities to drive competitiveness.

The 18th ACE took place last month. More than 70 delegates from 20 nations took part in ACE Michigan, visiting almost two dozen sites in Detroit, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor.

This program allows decision makers to experience successful projects and generate opportunities for trade, dialog, and discussion of ideas. ACE represents an opportunity to strengthen economic ties and cooperation among our neighbors and better positions the United States as a key economic partner across the Americas, Caribbean and beyond.

Grant Portfolio Supports FDI and U.S. Exports

Within EDA’s traditional grant portfolio, several recent EDA grants support FDI and U.S. exports. An EDA-funded technology park in Cassopolis, Michigan, celebrated the opening of its first business – Hydro, a state-of-the-art Norwegian-owned recycling plant that will turn aluminum scrap into high quality products.

In 2021, EDA awarded a $6M grant, funded through the Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program, to construct the needed road, sewer, and water infrastructure to support the 234-acre Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology Park (SMART Park). Leaders confirm they are in talks with two other foreign-based companies to open in the park.

As we champion community-led development in the United States, and around the world, we’re constantly reminding our partners that success, opportunity, and innovation are not constrained by borders or geography. While our impact is often most acutely felt regionally or locally, our goals of a safer, more successful economy and community are truly global.