From the President: Southeast Poised for International Business


When shopping around for a new car or home appliance, most of us base a considerable part of our decision on feedback gleaned from other consumers. We look not just for favorable reviews, but for testimonials from people with needs and tastes similar to our own.

Foreign companies use similar methods when identifying American communities they’d like to invest in. Right now in Southeastern North Carolina, there are 58 foreign-owned firms operating some 75 separate facilities. More than half these operations involve manufacturing.

How do we know this? We took the time to ask.

In an exhaustive survey of the region’s economic landscape, our organization gathered important data and perspective on the international economy as it most visibly operates across our 11 counties. Bart Richardson, our marketing research manager, led the initiative, which uncovered knowledge of the region that can be fed into our global marketing strategy. Also crucial to the effort was the assistance we received from Lauren Brown, an MPA graduate student from UNC Wilmington now interning at the Southeast Partnership.

Together the two tapped a broad array of information resources and worked closely with our academic partners and state-level allies to construct a coherent picture of where the region stands in the global economy. Our next step, underway now, is direct outreach to international firms in the Southeast to gather their insights into the advantages of doing business here. As important, we are also seeking their input regarding any barriers to success our region faces in its global competitive posture.

Armed with this valuable intelligence, we’re orienting our marketing and promotional tools toward bringing more international companies and foreign direct investment into the Southeast Region.


Steve Yost