LARGO – More than 60 Prince George’s County-run businesses joined the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and County Executive Rushern Baker III to discuss sponsorships an upcoming trip to China to promote trade expansion. “We are making great connections overseas,” Baker said. “The more successful county businesses are, the more people they will hire. The more […]
LARGO – More than 60 Prince George’s County-run businesses joined the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and County Executive Rushern Baker III to discuss sponsorships an upcoming trip to China to promote trade expansion.
“We are making great connections overseas,” Baker said. “The more successful county businesses are, the more people they will hire. The more people businesses hire, the more taxes are paid. The more taxes businesses pay, the more services are available for the citizens of Prince George’s County.”
Business owners will have the opportunity to sponsor the costs of the China trip, according to Jayson Williams, vice president of strategic alliances for the EDC. The trip will go through Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai, Williams said, and sponsorships will bring the opportunity to network with more overseas business owners.
“You have the ability to partner with Prince George’s County. Our job here is to sell you,” Williams said. “Not only here, but to sell you there. We have various sponsorship opportunities if you sponsor with us. This gives you a unique opportunity to talk about your business.”
“This trip is about establishing that relationship, one that I think will be going on for a long time,” Baker said. “It is one of the biggest emerging markets in the world. They are looking to invest in the United States in a big way. They have money, which is always nice, because we’re looking for money.”
There are plenty of growth opportunities in China, Baker said, with the expansion of construction. Having county businesses grow is important for the county’s economy and expanding the tax base.
The EDC is presenting county business owners with more than $80,000 in sponsorship opportunities, Williams said. There is a sponsorship opportunity for $50,000 that business owners can take that will cover half of the cost for the EDC and the county executive’s trip to China, he said. Along with the $50,000 sponsorship, he said, business owners will have the opportunity to travel with Baker and the EDC throughout the trip and present their businesses to Chinese officials.
“We’ll also do a lot of things with you. Whenever there is an event involving the county executive, you will be welcomed with the delegation,” Williams said. “You’ll have the first meetings with the county executive and the last when you leave.”
The sponsor will be able to join Baker in all business meetings, Williams said, in all three cities. There will be three different receptions in each city, he said, that all sponsors will be able to attend. Nearly 50 investors from China who are looking for business in the United States will attend these meetings, he said, and they will have the opportunity to pitch their business.
As soon as business owners get on the plane to China, EDC President James Coleman said, they will have the opportunity to start doing business—not only with foreign investors, he said, but with one another.
“You will be meeting with people over there and from our delegation who will want to do business with you,” Coleman said. “So you have to be prepared to start doing business. We need to get to China as soon as possible.”
Business owners from around the county may pay their way into the mission by July 24, according to Elizabeth Crittenden, a member of the EDC’s International Business Strategy Advisory Council. The basic package cost for the mission amounts to $5,900, she said, including all tours and conferences.
There will be no taxpayer dollars funding Baker’s trip, according to Lori Valentine, a spokeswoman for the EDC. The entirety of their trip will be funded through sponsorships, and business owners must pay their own way.
“They’re going to use sponsorships through the businesses at the breakfast. There are no tax dollars going into the trip,” Valentine said. “This is all through the sponsors. As we get their sponsorships and people decide they want to invest, that pays off the costs.”
The trip will be from Sept. 4 to Sept. 12, Valentine said. The first China trip introduced the county to another country, Baker said, and they would like to go back to use what they learned from the initial trip to pitch themselves in a better way to Chinese business owners.
The China mission is “at the top of the list” for the county when dealing with foreign missions, Baker said, and it should continue even after the Baker administration is finished with its second term.
“That’s what I hope. I hope this is sustainable beyond this administration. I want to establish that,” Baker said. “The relationship that we’re building in China and the relationships that we want to come over here may not come until 2018 or 2020. I want to establish us.”
Prince George’s County has plenty to offer for Chinese business owners, Baker said. There is plenty of office space available for use, he said, and it borders the nation’s capital. “You can’t buy space, and you can’t buy location,” Baker said. “We have the ability to expand out.”
Chinese businesses are looking to expand into technology and agriculture, Baker said, two of Prince George’s County’s most prominent markets.