Tag Archives: shanghai

GPEC Forum

GPEC targets international business executives

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) this week officially launched an international toolkit and forum series, called “Doing Business in Greater Phoenix, U.S.A,” with additional support from the City of Phoenix. The toolkit is designed to assist foreign companies with investment and expansion decisions in the United States and, specifically, the Greater Phoenix region.

From accessing capital to forming strategic partnerships with universities and purchasing land in Arizona – the toolkit is a compilation of how-to advice ranging from human resources issues, immigration law, investment parameters, taxes, import/export laws and banking.

“Phoenix is open for business,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “In order for our economy to be globally competitive, we have to reach out internationally so we can attract the businesses and jobs that will propel Phoenix toward a stronger future. Making our city a place where it’s easier to do business makes it even more attractive to investment. It’s a win-win.”

The toolkit was officially launched last month in Shanghai, where GPEC joined representatives from Green Card Fund, Polsinelli and BDO for the first forum, held in conjunction with the International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference and Exhibition (SNEC).

“The response we received to our forum was incredible, with 75 attendees at the forum and nearly 1,000 online views to date – and we are just now starting to actively promote it,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “In China, executives are hungry for this type of information so they can grow their businesses abroad. Fortunately for them, Greater Phoenix is primed for growth and is very hospitable in helping companies that are considering foreign-direct investments with their options in the City of Phoenix and the surrounding region.”

Arizona has taken giant strides over the past few years to keep business taxes low and improve available economic development programs. The City of Phoenix has a 24-hour business permitting program that allows businesses to apply for a permit and start construction on the same day.

“The response from businesspeople and government officials in China to the toolkit we presented was excellent. Helping executives understand the benefits that GPEC has to offer companies is a key component to positioning our region for future business opportunities,” said Melissa Ho, a shareholder of the national law firm Polsinelli. “Our international law team is excited to partner with GPEC and the City of Phoenix as we explore the possibilities in China.”

Since last month’s launch in Shanghai, the toolkit’s website has received nearly 1,000 hits without any additional promotion beyond the first forum. As such, the region’s international brand – of which the City of Phoenix is a central part – is receiving a significant boost from the toolkit. The media impact from the initial rollout in Shanghai was also substantial, with media impressions of 370 million from last month’s trip alone.

“By taking the initiative and launching the International Toolkit, GPEC, along with local business leaders and the City of Phoenix, have shown their steadfast commitment to providing foreign firms and individuals with the knowledge and resources needed to successfully invest and expand to the Greater Phoenix region,” said Kyle Walker, Managing Partner at Green Card Fund, which specializes in EB-5 visas and presented at the forum in Shanghai.

“I couldn’t be more excited about GPEC’s creativity in developing ways to attract new businesses to Arizona and am proud to contribute the strength of the BDO network to those efforts,” said Susan Wolak, Office Business Line Leader at BDO USA, which has 37 offices and 4,700 employees in China, and also assisted in the recent trip to Shanghai.

The toolkit is currently available in English, Mandarin and Spanish, and plans are underway for further translations. Both short and long versions of the toolkit are available at http://www.gpec.org/toolkit.

Matt.Widdows

HomeSmart International Expands Network into Texas

Real estate firm HomeSmart International continues its nationwide growth with the opening of its newest franchise in Cedar Hill, Texas. Based in Phoenix, HomeSmart began franchising two years ago, offering one of the most attractive business models in the real estate industry.

HomeSmart CEO and President Chuck Lemire believes this new partnership will continue the international growth of HomeSmart and provide great brokerage services through the franchise owners leadership and experience in the Dallas Forth Worth region. Dallas Fort Worth is one of the top five economic markets in the United States and HomeSmart is the number one independent brokerage firm in the Southwest.

Since opening in January 2000, HomeSmart has had tremendous success by growing to over 7,500 agents nationwide. HomeSmart provides their Franchise Partners with specific systems and technology that create efficiency in operations and keep costs down while allowing exponential growth.

Cedar Hill franchise owners Jonathan Cochran and John Gerhardt bring a unique mix of experience to HomeSmart. Cochran served in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer before entering the civilian work force as a real estate agent, while Gerhardt worked as a real estate agent for seven years before partnering with Cochran.

“After learning about HomeSmart and gathering an understanding of what the franchise offers for our clients and for our agents, my business partner [Gerhardt] and I chose to purchase a HomeSmart franchise and begin our new direction in real estate as HomeSmart franchise owners. It was an excellent choice,” said Cochran.

Gerhardt adds, “I have always had a passion to help others and real estate offers that opportunity in unique ways. My family and I are very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we embark on this new endeavor with HomeSmart.”

HomeSmart emphasizes the importance of being aware of client needs and exceeding their expectations, which in turn builds strong relationships with the buyers and sellers in every market. HomeSmart’s proprietary software also positions its franchise partners ahead of the curve. Created by Founder and Chairman Matt Widdows and his development team, the reputable systems are proven to save business owners huge costs attributed to web hosting, lead generation and back office systems. This allows the franchise owners to provide the technology to their agents for free while allowing the agents to keep 100 percent of their commissions. Other advantages to HomeSmart’s franchise program include a virtual receptionist, generous fee structure, and a full suite of branding and marketing products.

HomeSmart continues to open new offices and add jobs across the United States, with offices throughout ten states and international operations in Shanghai, China. They added approximately 3,500 new jobs in 2012, and their goal is to continue to grow nationally and internationally in 2013.

For more information on HomeSmart and its franchise opportunities, visit www.homesmartinternational.com. Follow HomeSmart on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homesmart.

Funding Startup Companies Jumpstart Economy

GPEC boosts state’s economy by attracting more foreign direct investment

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s California 50 program — which aimed to fly 50 Golden State CEOs to Phoenix for an opportunity to tour and explore the region’s business-friendly environment — proved to be so popular that they expanded it to 100 a week after its launch.

But it may be GPEC’s pitch to CEOs even farther away that makes the biggest impact on Arizona’s economy.

“GPEC is focused on a specific region in China, defined by Shanghai and 10 other cities connected by high-speed rail,” says Ron Butler, managing partner at Ernst & Young in Phoenix and co-chair of GPEC’s International Leadership Council. “This region (known as the ‘Z Corridor’) features China’s largest concentration of industries, including solar, medical device, IT, pharmaceuticals, high-tech manufacturing and chemicals. GPEC has made tremendous strides over the past several years in China, particularly with solar and renewable energy companies. Now, the organization is looking to leverage those relationships and expand into other, capital-intensive industries.”

GPEC’s effort is significant, Butler says, because export industries and foreign direct investment (FDI) drive economic growth, create wealth within the region, and tend to be capital-intensive operations that pay higher-than-average wages. Currently, FDI accounts for 73,000 jobs in Arizona and the state saw a 235 percent increase in FDI from 2005-2010, from just over $270 million to more than $904 million.

“By focusing on the Z corridor, a zone known for its solar, high-tech, bio-medical, and chemical industries, GPEC has identified a region that can appreciate what Arizona and — more importantly Arizona workers — can do well,” says Ilya A. Iussa, assistant professor of law at Phoenix School of Law.

But it’s not just investment from China that is giving Arizona an economic boost within the solar and renewable energy industries. In addition to China’s Suntech, the region has seen investments from Spain’s Rioglass and Abengoa, England’s Faist, Germany’s Solon, France’s Saint-Gobain, and Canada’s Cosma International.

“GPEC smartly targets the regions and countries that represent significant growth opportunities, like Canada, China and Western Europe, and works these markets with effective marketing and business development strategies,” Butler says. “Now, with a more concentrated effort underway in China and successful positioning as both a leader in the U.S. solar market and an on-the-record supporter of expanded free trade with China, the Greater Phoenix region is poised for amplified growth in FDI, particularly from China.”

Despite its success, experts says Arizona still has some work to do.

“Our neighboring states and biggest competitors far outrank us in national FDI and export-trade rankings,” Butler says. “California is first for FDI and second for exports, while Texas is second for FDI and first for exports. As such, we must continue evaluating our market for additional FDI and export industry opportunities, and look for ways to increase our competitiveness in these areas.”

Lawmakers have identified one area that needs to be addressed to gain a competitive edge on other states.

“One of the first things we should do is focus on developing a highly educated workforce that will attract companies and businesses looking to move their headquarters,” says Rep. Matt Salmon, R-5. “In addition, it is equally important for us to create a pro-business environment and that comes by reducing harmful regulations that hamper economic growth. Both would increase Arizona’s role in the global economy.”

In order to be increase its global presence and become more competitive with neighboring states like California and Texas, Butler says Arizona must increase the number of export industries operating in the state.

“We can increase our competitiveness for these types of investments,” he says, “with a targeted economic development program for export industries, similar to the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program (SB1403), which has brought significant investments to the region and the Qualified Facilities Tax Credit (HB2815), which expanded the successful renewable energy program to include qualified, export-based investments.”

carey school - graduate

More Than 2,000 Will Graduate From W. P. Carey School

More than 2,000 students will graduate from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business next week. This is one of the biggest graduation classes ever for the school, known as one of the largest and highest-ranked business schools in the country. The president of the Phoenix Suns, a group of executives flying in from China, and a student who already started a nonprofit to help foster teens will be part of the ceremonies.

“We have another fantastic graduating class this year,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “These students exemplify why our undergraduate, full-time MBA and part-time MBA programs are all ranked Top 30 by U.S. News & World Report. It’s another batch of high achievers.”

The school’s graduate-level convocation will include more than 900 students, most of them receiving MBAs, but others getting master’s degrees in accountancy, tax, information management, real estate development and health systems management. The event will be held Friday, May 4 at 5 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The featured speaker will be Brad Casper, president of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, who is known for his community involvement and heavy focus on area schools.

In addition, about 20 of the 120 executives graduating from the school’s executive MBA program in Shanghai are traveling to Phoenix to participate in the Tempe ceremony. The Shanghai program educates some of the highest-level business and government leaders in China and is currently ranked among the Top 20 executive MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times, Britain’s equivalent of The Wall Street Journal. Past students have included the CEOs of Baosteel and Shanghai Electric, three vice governors of China’s major provinces, six city mayors, the chief executive officer of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, several bank chairmen and the chairman of Shanghai Airlines.

At the undergraduate level, more than 1,100 students are eligible to walk the stage, and more than a dozen different types of business degrees will be awarded. The undergraduate convocation is set for Thursday, May 3 at 8 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena. The main speaker will be Chris Spinella, chief executive officer of Apriva, which develops and advances smart-card technology and wireless applications for payment processing and secure mobile communications.

The graduates at this ceremony will include the winner of the spring 2012 Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, Christos Makridis. He co-founded the Quanta Foundation LLC, an educational services company that connects high school students with high-profile university projects to produce research and multimedia materials. Makridis is also a McCord Scholar, an economics teaching assistant, chairman of the business school’s Dean’s Advisory Council and editor in chief of an international undergraduate-research journal on science policy at ASU.

Another finalist for the Turken Family award, Priya Nathan, co-founded a nonprofit to benefit young people. Partnered for Success helps foster and orphan youth successfully transition out of the foster care system in the Phoenix area. The program has been recognized by Fast Company magazine and was selected as an ASU Innovation Challenge grant winner twice.

“Many of these graduates are already making their mark well beyond the classroom,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Executive Dean Amy Hillman. “We have students who are small-business owners, working moms, members of the military and lots of others already making us proud. We look forward to their continued success.”

For more information on W. P. Carey School of Business, visit W. P. Carey School of Business’ website at wpcarey.asu.edu.