2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit Call for Speakers

At the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit, we will highlight the many diverse voices in our audience and make an effort to include all stakeholders that are important to foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction in the planning process.

SelectUSA has developed content for a number of breakout and Investment Academy sessions that will highlight themes consistently addressed at the annual Investment Summit. We invite members of the community to propose qualified speakers and/or moderators for these sessions. All sessions for which we are accepting speaker submissions are listed below:

Supply Chains, Logistics, and Shipping

Businesses run on logistics.  Getting products to the customer on time is one of the most crucial factors of success for any company.  In an increasingly globalized world, this process can quickly become complicated, as today’s companies have multiple parts from multiple locations coming to be assembled and then shipped off again.  This panel will discuss the supply chain and shipping landscape of the United States, including what you need to know in terms of costs of shipping, how to get your goods into and throughout the country, where you can store them, and what kinds of services are available to assist you in navigating this complex process.

Understanding the American Customs Process

The United States is home to the busiest land, air, and sea ports in the world.  As millions of goods move in and out of the country each day, they are subject to various levels of regulations and taxation.  In a country as large and complex as the United States, this process can at times seem daunting.  A lack of understanding of customs regulations can be a costly mistake for any business, leading to delays and bottlenecks.  This panel will help demystify this process and help you better understand where and how to get the information you need in order to legally bring your goods and equipment into the country and ultimately to consumers.

Federal Tax Credits and Tax Incentive Programs

Taking advantage of federal tax credits and incentives programs can provide crucial advantages to new and expanding businesses in the United States.  However, searching for, identifying, and applying for these programs can often be a complex and time-consuming process.  Additionally, several considerations must be made regarding the type of incentives to consider and when they should be applied.  This panel will cover the latest information on federal tax credits and incentives that could be critically important for companies considering investment in the U.S., as well as how and where to find them, and the basic steps for application.

State and Local Taxes

Veteran businessmen and women will often say that operating in the United States is more akin to operating in 50 different countries due to the dispersive nature of America’s federal system of government. The relatively high degree of autonomy every state is afforded in writing their tax codes means that each state will have its own distinct set of taxes and tax rates any company operating within their borders will be subject to.  This session will cover the essentials for understanding state and local taxes and what resources are available to learn which state’s tax structure may be the most beneficial to your industry or business.

Utility Market Dynamics

No matter the industry, availability and cost of utilities are a significant factor for any business.  Whether it is a tech startup that needs to keep the lights on or an industrial chemical company that requires access to high volumes of water, every company relies on utilities in one way or another.  However, utilities in the United States are run by a variety of entities, both public and private, and can cover geographic areas as small as a municipality to large multi-state regions.  This session will help guide investors through the utilities landscape and provide basic information to ensure a smooth utility acquisition process when opening a business in the United States.

Navigating the U.S. Visa Landscape

A key component to investing in the United States is staffing your business with talented and specialized workers.  When investing from abroad, it is sometimes necessary to bring skilled workers to the United States for training or managing operations.  The procedures, programs, and regulations of the United States Citizenship and Immigration service can be complex and difficult to navigate.  This panel will discuss the different visa programs available, including the EB-5 program, as well as provide information on the various types of visas necessary to enter the United States to invest and to work.

Finding the Right Workforce in the U.S. (two-part session)

A skilled workforce is one of the most critical elements a company needs to be successful. The United States is home to one of the most productive, talented workforces in the world, and prides itself on its workforce development programs and technological advances that directly impact labor skill requirements. Session One will provide resources to identify and recruit the best workers for your company. EDO and U.S. Department of Commerce representatives will walk you through the evaluation process of labor costs and skills availability, as well as training and hiring resources to consider. Session Two will help investors understand the different benefits they are required to provide their employees at the federal level and on a state-by-state basis.

Optimizing Partnership Opportunities

Collaboration among corporations, leading research universities, local non-profit organizations, and public institutions is driving innovation across industries. Partnerships like these facilitate synergies among research capacity, entrepreneurship, access to capital and skilled workers to create innovation centers and innovation-based economies in cities and regions across the U.S. This session will focus on helping investors understand what resources and infrastructure is available for them to partner with incubators, universities, and other research institutions to develop and bring their products to market. Early identification of knowledge gaps, best practices, and strategic partners can help foreign companies find success in the U.S. market.

Financing Your Business

Access to capital is a key consideration for all companies, whether they are early stage businesses, or large multinational firms looking to expand their operations. Fortunately, the United States is home to the most developed, liquid, flexible, and efficient financial markets in the world with a capital pool of unequalled depth. The U.S. provides businesses and entrepreneurs with a variety of options for accessing capital; however, it is crucial that investors understand the different types of deal structures and how to choose the right partner. This session will focus on how U.S. venture capitalists and commercial banks are able to facilitate the expansion efforts of foreign companies seeking to enter the U.S. market. The panelists will also touch on key strategies companies from abroad can implement to optimize their business plans and operations in the U.S. market.

Soft Landing Programs

A well-run soft-landing program can take many of the myriad considerations foreign companies have when deciding to relocate and simplify the entire process. By centralizing resources (e.g. legal services, accounting, business mentoring, business development resources), and engaging local university clusters and trade associations, an enterprise new to the U.S. can not only get a head start on making an impact in the marketplace, but also engage the local business community in a meaningful and productive manner. Hear from experts who run soft landing programs in the U.S. and companies who have successfully navigated

Investing in Rural America

International companies are looking to invest in Rural America more than ever before – and for good reason. These regions boast lower business costs, while providing a high quality of life and access to abundant natural resources. Located near major airports, roadways, and shipping ports, rural American regions offer the whole package to foreign investors looking to make the United States home. This panel will discuss the unique opportunities and advantages of investing in rural America.

Call for Content:

If you or a colleague would like to present at the Summit on a topic you don’t see listed above, you may suggest a different session or workshop. Criteria for suggesting your own topic are listed below.

SelectUSA invites proposals that highlight:

  • Comparative perspectives on investment best practices.
  • Operational challenges such as navigating legalities around taxation and incentives, capital creation, intellectual property, and supply chain management.
  • Site selection, growth, expansion, and reshoring.
  • Creative uses of technology and how it facilitates investment attraction.
  • Innovative programs to support FDI.
  • Other related topics that demonstrate the many advantages of doing business in the United States.

Keep in mind that proposals should be broad enough to be applicable to a wide audience – Summit attendees include investors from more than 60 markets and state and local economic development representatives from across the country. International attendees from foreign firms represent hundreds of different industries and range in size from “early stage” to SMEs to large multinational corporations. Please note that we are unable to accept proposals that target a single market.

Review Process:

Each speaker and/or proposal will be rated based on the following criteria:

  • Complete Proposal – Is the proposal fully filled out? Do the title, description, and speakers align?
  • Relevant to SelectUSA client audience – Does the submitting organization have experience assisting SelectUSA clients (foreign firms or EDOs) in matters related to U.S. investment activity? Is the submitting organization a SelectUSA client? Has the submitting organization successfully invested in the U.S.?
  • Would the speaker/proposal further the objectives of the Summit and contribute to knowledge of investing in the United States?
  • Is the goal of the speaker/proposal in line with the mission and objectives of the International Trade Administration or the Department of Commerce more broadly?
  • Geographically neutral – Does the proposal conform to geographic neutrality (e.g. the proposal does not improperly promote one U.S. location over another)?
  • Generally neutral – Does the proposal avoid promotion of a single company or association?

Submission Policy:

All sessions will be presented in a panel discussion format with a moderator and up to four (4) additional speakers. Submitters may suggest a single speaker for a session proposal or multiple speakers. If more than one speaker is suggested, SelectUSA reserves the right to invite speakers individually and will not necessarily invite all speakers suggested.

All sessions will be recorded and will be open press unless otherwise noted.

An individual will only be selected to speak on one session, however, organizations can be represented on multiple levels. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to submit multiple proposals on various topics.

For all session presentations, a maximum of five suggested individuals (including the moderator) is permitted, but proposals may also be submitted with a single speaker.

You will receive notification of acceptance or rejection via email in early Spring 2019.  SelectUSA and the Department of Commerce reserve the right to edit, combine, use all or portions of submissions for Summit programming (including, but not limited to, speaker selection).