2024 SEDC FDI Initiatives

Posted By: Courtland Robinson SEDC News,

2024 SEDC FDI Initiatives

Courtland Robinson of Duke Energy
Scott Poag of Yates Construction

Profile photo of Courtland Robinson
Courtland Robinson,
Duke Energy

The Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) has a renewed focus on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2024 for its 17 member states. Courtland Robinson of Duke Energy said a target for 2024 is batteries for electric vehicles. While bilateral trade is still in play, Robinson said that identifying companies that want to invest in the region is a priority. “We’re more interested in inbound FDI right now,” he said.

When a delegation of SEDC members visited Hanover, Germany for a trade show, they came away understanding that overseas companies often aren’t aware of government structures in the United States. That experience led to discussions of how the SEDC could best engage in FDI. A major initiative this year will occur in March when a delegation goes to Seoul, South Korea for conversations about investment in SEDC states. (see article in this issue on the trip to Asia).

The states that make up SEDC constitute the third largest economy in the world. That’s a lot of drawing power. The infrastructure, transportation, and logistics offered by member states are key to companies choosing to relocate or build new facilities.

Profile photo of Scott Poag, CEcD
Scott Poag
Yates Construction

Scott Poag of Yates Construction, past Board Chair of the SEDC, said “we help communities connect with the right people.” Poag said there are “three buckets” for 2024: continuing education, domestic policy, and outward focus. “We have to train members to be ready,” he said. In addition, the relationship between the SEDC and the U.S. Department of Commerce is crucial to growth. Finally, Poag said that finding ways to make trade show attendance more affordable for members will mean increased contact for potential FDI.

“The SEDC has a foundation,” Poag said. “Through the SEDC Foundation we can provide scholarships for continuing education, and we can help with funding for FDI initiatives,” explained Poag.

The members of the SEDC FDI committee, including Courtland Robinson, are active in FDI for their own companies. “The expertise they bring is incredible,” Poag said. “We have over a dozen people on the committee who are bringing energy and fresh ideas for how we can attract investment.”

The concentration on FDI means that a region already on the move is rapidly becoming the number one choice for FDI.