Digital Properties Manager
If you could tunnel straight down from Loudoun County through the middle of the Earth, you’d eventually come out off the coast of India. It is literally on the other side of the world.
And yet, Loudoun County has a growing connection with India — no digging required.
Nearly one out of every four Loudoun residents were born outside the U.S. By a wide margin, India is the top country of origin for foreign-born Loudouners – at 19.6 percent – and the Indian-American population in Loudoun has grown by 50 percent in the past five years.
“Loudoun County is very welcoming to the international community, and India in particular,” said Loudoun’s International Business Development Manager Robert McCollar. “One of the things that are advantageous to an internationally-owned firm is that you come to Loudoun and it’s already very international and diverse.
“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and we have the resources to help you be successful.”
The large – and growing – Indian population is a major reason why Air India began offering three weekly direct flights from Loudoun’s Washington-Dulles International Airport to Delhi in July 2017.
And it’s one of many reasons why Loudoun Economic Development made its first business development trip to India in November, to recruit businesses and attract foreign direct investment.
“We have so many people from India living in Loudoun County, and this is a trip that we were planning for a long time,” McCollar said. “We also worked with some Loudoun County residents who have family and business contacts back in India. They contacted their people and built excitement for our visit, particularly in New Delhi among export and retail businesses, and in Bengaluru with IT and health care companies.
“India is in the top 10 for foreign direct investment into the U.S. This business attraction trip was long overdue.”
What else makes India an attractive place to mine for business?
- India is the second most-populated nation on Earth, and has the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
- India’s economy is known for having a rich start-up culture. With 4,750 tech startups, it’s the third-largest in the world.
- India’s corporate earnings are projected to increase by 20 percent between 2017 and 2018, creating ample opportunity for international expansion.
But how do you get the #LoudounPossible message to the right people in a nation with a population of 1.3 billion? Rather than traveling to each business, McCollar arranged “single location promotions” where businesses traveled to him.
“Single location promotions are a really efficient way to conduct business in a foreign country,” McCollar explained. “It requires a lot of coordination up front, and we did the groundwork ahead of time. Once you’re there, it’s one meeting with dozens of business prospects.
“There were many people who drove for two hours and spent the night in hotels just to hear about Loudoun and the possibilities of doing business here. That tells me they’re serious.”
His meetings, held in New Delhi and Bengaluru, were very well attended, resulting in a number of new prospects and business leads.
While there, McCollar also engaged with the Indian offices of the U.S. Embassy, the Commerce Department, SelectUSA, and several Indian Chambers of Commerce.
“I have so many follow-up discussions from this trip! It’s great for our return on investment,” he said. “The next steps are to get our best prospects over here, give them a tour of Loudoun County and show them some available buildings.”
McCollar is working to help a number of Indian-owned businesses replicate the experience of the Punita Group Inc., in Sterling.
“Punita Group is a great success story,” McCollar said. “He was able to move here, buy and build a 65,000 square-foot facility that is doing millions of dollars in revenue.
“Even though he just built it this year, he’s doing a 15,000 square-foot expansion in 2018 and a planned expansion in 2019 as well.”
If you have a growing business, or know someone who is looking to expand their business in Loudoun County, please contact Robert McCollar, or our Business Development Officer Rick Morris at 1-(800)-LOUDOUN.