Fact: Chicago leads U.S. in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
- As of 2018, 1,800 businesses whose parent is located outside of the U.S.;
- $100 billion investment;
- 1,000 new Chicago jobs in 2018 alone.
Belief: The Chicagoland/Tri-State area is ripe for more FDI!
The Village of Skokie recognizes that the retention and potential expansion of the over 15 foreign-based companies who already call Skokie home and recruitment and attraction of more internationally owned companies are important goals in a community where over 90 languages are spoken in our schools. An important pillar in our ongoing and targeted economic development strategies, the Village seeks to enhance the likelihood for success in the area of FDI through its participation in SelectChicago.
Already, we have seen improvement in these areas:
- Improved marketing and response to RFP’s issued by State or corporate site selectors (via Showcase tours and inclusion in the SelectChicago “Dealbook”);
- Enhanced local tax base by attracting new or expanding existing foreign-based companies (via SelectChicago “spin-off” status at Select USA);
- Enhanced support of and knowledge-sharing among the existing foreign-based companies within Skokie’s municipal boundaries.
- Increased networking with local international chambers of commerce, trade commissioners /general consuls, regional alliances, etc.
- Strengthened connections with peer Chicagoland communities to promote the region collectively and learn from each other.
What Has the Village of Skokie Learned From Local Brokers and Local Property Owners When Attracting or Serving the Needs of Foreign-Based Companies?
- Need for well-organized, early stage response; a single point of accountability is critical.
- Foreign business decision-makers require tangible, reality-based information, not necessarily ‘quality of life’, soft issues, or immeasurable benefits.
- Sell the region (not just the community) as Illinois and Chicago often have high negatives.
- Provide an inventory of other foreign-owned or ‘cluster’ of similar companies to ease concerns.
- When recruiting, send municipal or business park representatives to the country of origin to better understand needs.
- Work to bridge gaps between initial expectations and eventual realities.
- Help international employees with transitional needs (commuting, housing, education, etc.).
- Be sensitive to overall cultural differences in dealing with expenditures, health care, contractual workers.
Leslie G. Murphy
Economic Development Specialist
Village of Skokie
5127 Oakton Street Skokie, IL 60077