I had the privilege of attending the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (MIBB) Ambassador Awards this week at the Westin Southfield. This awards dinner honors those who have made significant contributions toward building bridges between Michigan and Israel. At this event, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development was honored as an economic development partner.
Our department has had a longstanding relationship with MIBB. We have partnered on international trade missions to Israel as well as delegation visits with foreign companies and other dignitaries.
Our ties to Israel and MIBB are strengthened through the emergence of information technology and cybersecurity growth in Israel. Also, with the county’s position as a major leader in defense and homeland security, our communities are connecting on a number of economic development opportunities associated with the defense industry.
MIBB has provide our department with an engaging partner who has opened up the international market to our economic development opportunities in Macomb County. I want to thank MIBB for their continued partnership, and I look forward to many new opportunities to grow our respective economies.
John Paul Rea, AICP, is the director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.
On Monday, Nov. 30, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development had the pleasure of showcasing Macomb County’s assets to a visiting Chinese delegation from Hai’an County in the Jiangsu Province.
I specialize in working with businesses from Asia that are interested in investing in Macomb County as well as with local businesses trying to get their products into Asia. Through our department’s partnership with the Detroit Chinese Business Association (DCBA), I was able to arrange a tour for Mr. Zhang Yinglai, the party secretary of the CPC Qutang Town Committee in Hai’an; Mr. Guo Hengjun, the chairman of Hai’an Qutang Chamber of Commerce; and Mr. Mao Shihong, the director of the Hai’an Qutang Business Development Department.
The first stop of the tour was at the Michigan Technical Education Center at Macomb Community College. The delegation was able to see students training for skilled manufacturing jobs, ensuring Macomb County will continue to have a very skilled workforce.
Our next stop was the Macomb-OU INCubator at the Velocity Center. They learned about how small businesses can rent space at a very reasonable rate until they grow enough to move out and into their own facility. The incubator provides all the services small businesses need, including assistance with business plans and financing. The delegation had time to talk to one of the businesses there to see if there was a way to work together in the future.
The last stop was at COMTEC, which really impressed the Hai’an delegation. They were very interested in how all of the services were housed under one roof because they are in the process of building a facility in Hai’an to bring multiple departments together, just like how Macomb County did.
The day ended with a very nice dinner reception where I had the opportunity to speak to more than 65 business professionals, DCBA sponsors and guests about the business-friendly environment Macomb County offers. Oakland County Deputy Executive Matthew Gibb and Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority CEO Tom Watkins were also in attendance and addressed the delegation before Mr. Zhang gave a keynote presentation detailing the Hai’an investment environment.
Our department reaches out to foreign businesses to bring investment to Macomb County. We can also help local manufactures sell their products in Asia. There are many global opportunities available in Macomb County.
Jack Johns is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.