MEET helps international B2B companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections
Email Us

SelectUSA 2022 Preparation: A Visit with Jessica Reynolds, Maryland Department of Commerce

April 11, 2022

Link to podcast found HERE

Transcript to podcast found below:

Bill : Hi and welcome to the next episode of belly2belly and today we’re again talking about Select USA preparation. There’s just so much to do and a lot of excitement is building for this event this year and today, we’re joined by with Jessica Reynolds from the Maryland Department of Commerce. Welcome, Jessica.

Jessica : Thank you.

Bill : It’s Oh it’s great. It’s great to have you today and in Maryland certainly is in a perfect location for a lot of companies. And can you talk to us a little bit about your service and what the Department of Commerce does to help companies coming into the United States and particularly into the Maryland region?

Jessica : Absolutely. So our office of international investment and trade in the Maryland of Department of Commerce is the office tasked with assisting foreign companies to come into the state. So we see ourselves a little bit as maybe like the ombudsman for for those companies, you know, they’re they’re maybe interested in Maryland you know, there’s different counties to consider and and there’s so many resources and services you may need and how to connect all of those I mean, we can be sort of your your one stop shop for that, and help help you navigate the the region and help you find what you need. Specifically, you know, we can certainly assist with things like site selection, identifying specific service providers, such as your lawyers, your accountants, etc. And making introductions to other state agencies, to the local industry associations, etc. And helping you get connected and set up. We’ve also created recently, we launched at the last Select USA summit, the Maryland soft landing program, which is targeted towards some of those smaller and medium sized companies that maybe need even a little bit more support as they explore US market. And, you know, we’d be happy to speak with companies about that. More at the summit as well.

Bill : Oh, that’s great. Wow. So connecting and support and helping with that soft landing. It sounds like a real good combination. So, you know, obviously Maryland has, as a state has been participating in Select USA for many years, but why why Select USA? What about the event itself is Do you see it so important for helping international companies?

Jessica : Sure. Well, I mean, this is the premier, you know, events for investors to come and explore the US market, right? I mean, this is put on by our federal government. So from that perspective, there’s a benefit. You know, we’re working with our federal partners in this. Also, many states participate if most, if not all states participate. So for one thing, we certainly wouldn’t want to skip it while other states are there. You know, and, you know, this year it happens to be on our home turf. The Select USA Summit is being held at National Harbor, which is actually located in Maryland, right across the border there in Maryland. So, of course, we wouldn’t want to miss that. There’s a benefit to us, you know, from working with Select USA in particular, because with this summit, you know, the government does work with the investors who are coming in. So from the states perspective, you know, we know that the companies who are coming to this summit, you know, they’ve they’ve already kind of gone through that process and are ready, you know, ready to, to invest so that’s, that’s exciting to be at an event where you know, everyone that you’re going to speak with no matter what the industry you know, they’re kind of at that stage, they’re ready to take the next step.

Bill : That’s cool. I, you know, I didn’t realize national, Harper was in Maryland, so it’s a home game that’s

Jessica : yes. so of course, I’m letting them know

Bill : That you’re hosting that’s so I love it. I love a home game. That’s really good. That’s cool. So and this is a perfect segue because people can go right from your home game at the Select USA summit to a spin off event in Maryland as well which, you know, a lot of our audience may not know what a spin off event is. Do you want to kind of talk through the kind of the goal of the spin off event and who you’d like to attract to it?

Jessica : Sure. Sure. Yes. So in part because, you know, the event is being hosted. So you know, in Maryland, we are offering actually three spin off events. So the spin off events, the purpose of those is just to give the companies that are attending an opportunity to tour or see something more in depth. And in our case, we’re offering some special events that are industry specific because of course, the Select USA Summit is broad, it covers all industries, all markets. And so we do have three spin off events that are intended to be more targeted. So our spin off events are going to be held on June 23 and 24th. There’s three different I guess you could say choices or tracks to choose from, but there will be held on those dates and the events, the spin off events will be like a full two full days. We’re including transportation and you know all the things that companies would need for that day. Our spin off events are have three topics. The first one is bio and med tech, biotech and medtech. So life sciences companies, if they are interested in investing in the US, they’re looking for a spin off event. We do think marijuana would be a great choice for them. You know, we were the fourth largest cluster and life sciences cluster in the United States. And, you know, there’s a lot of great things that you could see, as well as people to meet so we’ll be lining up matchmaking meetings and visits with different government agencies and site visits and things like that. The second track is the cybersecurity and quantum computing spin off tour, and that one will also include the same sort of matchmaking meetings, we’re going to have visits with federal representatives, site visits, again, with companies or you know, maybe training facilities, things like that. So there’s a, again, a range of opportunities and we have two full days that we would have no problem filling with all the great things there to see in Maryland. The third track is the taste of Maryland soft landing program. And that one we intended to so we want to promote the soft landing program that I mentioned, it’s an opportunity to see some of the participating locations. But we’ll also include things in that program that companies that might be interested in a soft landing program would be looking at so maybe meeting with some of the service providers to you know, that can help answer some questions that earlier stage companies or smaller companies may have questions about for the US market and things like that. That one is not a specific industry, but it is focused on soft landing and those soft landing target companies. We also call the tastes of Maryland because we are trying to make it a little more fun. You know, companies have come in from all over the world. And maybe they want to have a little fun while they’re here too. So that one will include a little bit of kind of tasting tour while you’re touring try some Maryland specialties while you’re at it.

Bill : I can say having been to Maryland many times there’s lots of really good food there. Go go go for the softshell crabs for sure.

Jessica : Yes, yes. So we have this three tracks. And you know we do intend for those to be a little bit more in depth and give companies this specific things that they’re looking at and so already be in Maryland, you know, we can easily arrange for the transportation then right from the Gaylord out to these day long site visits and back for those two days and make it very easy and convenient for the investors coming in.

Bill : Brilliant. Cool. That’s awesome. So, so, so compelling. So the last question isn’t and again, thinking about the audience, there are, you know, people who in some cases who have been to the US many times and already have operations going and others who haven’t yet been the first person is it but thinking about, you know, those companies, What recommendations would you have for them in terms of getting the most out of Select USA and certainly the spin off events as well?

Jessica : Sure, sure. You know, well, one thing I would say is to make sure you do actually visit that. I guess what you would call it’s kind of like the trade show floor part of the summit. You know, you have most of if not all 50 states and some territories probably as well. There you know, and they have, they have, you know, all of their economic development people. They’ve got all the information that you would need so if you know you’re looking to enter the US market I mean it’s a great chance to speak with everyone in one place. So you know, I would say don’t miss that it’s there’s so much going on with the summit that it’s easy to maybe skip that part, but do make sure you stop by. The states will be ready and eager to chat with you and mix it again. It’s kind of easy to just go from state to state. Of course we want you to talk to us but it’s also easy to go speak with all the states in one place. So it’s very convenient for the investors. You know, I would also say Don’t Don’t forget that it’s the there are sessions start on Sunday. So there’s a lot of really great topical sessions throughout the summit, but some of those are starting Sunday even before the opening reception. Actually I’ll be speaking in one of those sessions, so you know, remember that there are interesting topics going on on Sunday as well. You know, and let’s see what else Oh, it and my third would be to consider some of the targeted, targeted events, whether they’re offered by states or again, if there’s some of the sessions in terms of the industry because it is a broad the summit is broad in terms of industry, but in the end, you know, companies are interested in what’s most specific and what’s most pertinent to them. So, you know, I would, I would say seek out that information between the different states between the different summit you know, conference sessions and topics and even what some of the embassies are putting on, you’re definitely seek out that information that’s most specific to your company.

Bill : So you’re thinking about companies that are coming, does it help you in terms of the work you’re going to do to support a company if they make pre contact and give you background details and their goals before the event? Does that help your conversations when you’re at Select Select USA?

Jessica : Yes, absolutely. And especially if they are interested in the spin off events. So it helps us in general because you know, we can perhaps even prepare or pull some of the information if they may be curious about in advance or set up a more targeted meeting at the summit, not just kind of a chat in the booth. But, you know, maybe we know that we’re going to have some a speaker who’s, you know, participating at the summit or we have someone who’s coming in for reception later and they’re a great fit to answer some of their questions. We can make that happen, you know, we can align things that way. And again, we do have that advantage of it being in Maryland so we could maybe even bring people in who aren’t participating the signs and and you know, chat to get basically make those connections and make the visit as effective as possible. So, but also for the spin off events, because, you know, while I said we’ve got some great agendas planned, we do have flexibility within those agendas. And so we look for people to sign up. I think we do have one of the earliest, you know, sign up by dates. The purpose of that is so that we can cater those spin off events to the people who actually sign up. So if we know what people are looking for, and you know, we’re seeing that a majority of those signing up really want to focus on this or really want to focus on that we’ll spend more time on that or we’ll make sure that we include that. Or maybe there’s suggestions that are made that weren’t initially part of our agenda, but we could certainly put together so you know, we we have intentionally built in that flexibility in order to you know, make this work for the investors I mean, that’s that’s what they’re, they’re coming they’re coming all the way to the United States for so we want to make it work for them.

Bill : Oh, that’s absolutely perfect. So we this is this has been great Jessica. I really appreciate everything you’ve shared and we’ll certainly put your contact info in the description below. And to our listeners certainly like and subscribe so you can stay tuned all the great info coming up. But, Jessica, thank you for taking the time today.

Jessica : You’re very welcome. Thank you for having me.