CINCINNATI -- Foreign investors have pumped $650 million into Greater Cincinnati since 2000. Cincinnati economic development officials have unveiled a plan to keep the good times rolling.
A new report lays out a set of strategies to strengthen regional cooperation to lure more companies and investors to the Tri-State. They're looking for everything from small manufacturing businesses to investors who can help finance a replacement for the aging Western Hills Viaduct.
"When we think of cranes dotting the skyline, it is imperative to think beyond borders and to think beyond traditional means of financing projects," Cincinnati Community and Economic Development Director Oscar Bedolla said.
Cincinnati has outpaced all of its competitors in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana since 2007 attracting foreign investment. According to the report, the Tri-State has lured more companies -- 53 -- that produced more jobs -- 6,793 -- than any regional rival.
To build on the momentum, leaders laid out several recommendations, including:
- Shovel-ready sites: While the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority -- formerly the Port Authority -- has been working to clear as many sites as possible for immediate construction, the report suggests that the city partner with the authority and REDI Cincinnati to develop an Industrial Action Plan that is designed to address the real estate voids in the market and deliver shovel-ready land sites within the city limits.
- Stealing coastal thunder: New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and other big coastal cities have attracted the lion's share of foreign investment because of their higher profile in other countries. But Greater Cincinnati has the same access to federal programs that offer green cards to major investors or allow for infrastructure financing. City officials believe public and private officials can work more closely to spread the word to foreign investors about the opportunities here.
- Target middle markets: Landing huge companies is always desirable, but officials have pointed to growth in "middle market" investments of $10 million to $1 billion as a worthy target.
- Ambassadors: "Establish a formal Tri-State Business Ambassadors program to encourage foreign companies and investors who have been successful in the Cincinnati region to promote it during their business activities, especially international business trips."
Bedolla said the bottom line is to spur investment that creates more jobs in Cincinnati and throughout the Tri-State.
"Everybody has been doing things in silos, but we want to be able to point to collaboration when we're recruiting investors," he said.