Sunday, October 27, 2013

World Arizona Update

"World Arizona" is a Phoenix-based international initiative since March 28, 2013 that has included over 110 business, non-profit, government and community leaders discussing ways for Arizona to be more successful with global trade, investment and tourism.

This post is a summary of ideas coming out of the discussions. More info will be shared at the Nov 4th Arizona-Canada event (RSVP) and Dec 2nd AZIGG "International State of the State" event.

Here are key issues and opportunities for Arizona to expand global business success, with people identified below to contact for more information:

1) Global Attraction Strategy. An example of a successful economic development initiative by Arizona to attract global business is the AZ Chamber's efforts to reduce business taxes and regulations, improving regional and global competitiveness. Gaps in what could be a more effective Arizona global business attraction strategy include pulling together coordinated efforts within the multitude of key stakeholders and throughout the community . We know that California, Texas and Utah have global strategies because we can see them. California has China highlighted on their economic development website, Utah's Governor consults regularly with international exports like Lew Cramer of World Trade Center Utah, and Texas' Governor reaches out directly to specific company targets. For more contact Glenn Hamer of the Arizona Chamber, Sandra Watson of the Arizona Commerce Authority, Barry Broome of GPEC, Keith Galbut of Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations and Doug Bruhnke of Growth Nation and the Global Chamber.

2) International Brand. There is an opportunity to overcome SB1070 and related damage of Arizona's brand in the international community. SB1070 targeted illegal immigrants, but the result has been that far too many people all over the world perceive Arizona as unfriendly to outsiders. Arizona Tourism and GPEC have made separate attempts to move the needle, and there are a variety of activities to overcome this by other organizations. It will take a brand definition and coordinated rebuilding. Contact Sherry Henry of AZ Department of Tourism, Barry Broome of GPEC, Sandra Watson of AZ Commerce Authority and Doug Bruhnke of Growth Nation.

3) Export Initiative. Metro Phoenix is rated only #30 in the U.S. for exports, and the region appears to be stepping backward. This is an area of urgent attention - and like other cities that have identified exports as a priority, a regional long-term plan is required. Contact Hank Marshall, City of Phoenix.

4) Direct International Flights. As with exports and international trade in general, Phoenix and Arizona are 'below average' with direct international flights - a key issue for international businesses to consider growing in and relocating to Arizona. Contact Deborah Ostreicher, City of Phoenix.

5) Language Training. One of the successful initiatives for Utah especially on creating a perception of internationalization has been the immersion language training programs implemented under the leadership of Governors Huntsman and Herbert. Contact regional leader City of Scottsdale, John Huppenthal of the Arizona Department of Education and Doug Bruhnke of the Global Chamber.

6) Government Champions. Governors Brown (CA), Herbert (UT) and Perry (TX) have different approaches, but all have a stated priority for global business. There are AZ government leaders who also have done so - like Mayors Smith (Mesa), Lord (Goodyear) and Lane (Scottsdale); U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and AZ Rep. Tom Forese. Rep. Matt Salmon is the only Congressional leader who speaks Mandarin, and attended our first meeting. Contact these leaders or Doug Bruhnke of AZIGG.

7) Business Champions. Doug Bruhnke of AZIGG has been involved since 2001 in Utah with Governor-to-business leader initiatives that get business leaders to work together within a global business strategy. Something tailored to Arizona can be done, too. Contact Doug Bruhnke for more.

8) Growing Mexico. There are additional growth opportunities with Arizona's number one trading partner. Contact Margie Emmermann of the Arizona Mexico Commission.

9) Growing Canada. There are additional growth opportunities with Arizona's number two trading partner. Contact Glenn Williamson of the Canada Arizona Business Council and attend the next AZIGG event on November 4th for more details.

10) Growing China and Other Countries. What should Arizona's strategy be with other countries, especially since the vast majority of future economic development will be in China, India and countries outside Mexico and Canada. Contact Sandra Watson of AZ Commerce and Doug Bruhnke.

Hear more about World Arizona at the next AZIGG events, and add your voice to the conversation.

Also watch for a continuation of the World Arizona initiative...supporting local and global growth. 

For more background on what other states are doing, please see this recent Growth Nation post

Message from Doug Bruhnke: Very special thanks to... 

- Sherry Henry, AZ Tourism, for your enthusiasm and support!
- Hank Marshall, City of Phoenix, for all you do, and your ideas.
- Glenn Williamson, CABC, because you're amazing at what you do.
- Mel Sanderson, Freeport McMoRan, for your international inspiration.
- Keith Galbut, Galbut and Galbut, for your steady and expert approach.
- Hank, Rex, Steven, Denise and Celia for sharing your ideas at ACA.
- Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, for working extremely hard to do the right things.
- Sandra Watson, for continuing to listen and keep an open mind.
- Everyone who keeps the faith that global business changes everything.