Event Summary - Toronto Global Strategy and Outreach Mission
EDCUtah recently completed its first international Global Strategy and Outreach mission with a very successful trip to Toronto. “Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population. . . [Toronto is] a global center for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities” (City of Toronto). Aligning the GS&O mission with the Canada Trade Mission hosted by GOED and the World Trade Center created additional horsepower in introducing Utah to targeted Toronto companies.
When EDCUtah’s Global Strategy and Outreach experts research opportunities to market Utah, “[we] look for cities with good economic growth and a higher cost of living than Utah,” says Stephanie Frohman, director of EDCUtah’s Global Strategy and Outreach program. Once a city is identified, the GS&O team identifies targeted companies and schedules in-person meetings with EDCUtah representatives.
Nick Dall and Annet Unda were able to set up a dozen meetings over four days -- the highest response EDCUtah has ever received from one city in a GS&O campaign. These meetings are at an executive level with either CEOs or CFOs, and spanned the life science, software, finance and energy sectors. The goal of the relationship strategy is to position Utah as “first call” when these companies need to add talent or capacity. Nine out of the twelve Toronto targets turned into leads, meaning that those companies wanted to continue the conversation about expanding into Utah.
“It’s an exciting thing to lead a meeting with a Utah’s Best State for Business Ranking by Forbes and CNBC,” says Frohman, “it really shows what Utah has to offer.” Toronto and its Metropolitan areas have a population of about 6 million people, where Utah is a State of 3 million people. However, Toronto has 140 languages spoken while Utah has 130 languages spoken. “Like Toronto, Utah is well-positioned to support companies with international clientele because of its built-in language skills,” says Frohman. There are several benefits of moving business to Utah, and for Toronto, some were more obvious than others.
“Utah was ALREADY set apart going into these meetings.” says Colby Cooley, business development manager at EDCUtah, “Utah is on par with the biggest tech areas in the U.S.” As many of these meetings were tech focused, Utah’s success in the tech industry is a huge selling point. Toronto’s technology boom is reaching its breaking point in growth. “It’s forcing them to look elsewhere, as they have no choice but to expand,” says Cooley. As Toronto looks toward expansion, EDCUtah put Utah at the forefront of their minds.
Moving towards foreign markets brings on a new set of challenges. As EDCUtah begins its own international Global Strategy and Outreach missions, there are a lot of new factors to consider. “It makes managing projects much more difficult,” says Cooley, “but it also is an exciting challenge.” After EDCUtah’s visit to Toronto they are not only confident that the international recruiting barrier can be broken, but that it can bring success for Utah.