I traveled to India on behalf of the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership in early February to meet with Indian companies interested in learning more about expanding their business to the Detroit region.
Traveling with me were Dr. Mulugetta Birru, representing Wayne County; Harry Whalen, manager, international business development, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; and Atul Sheth, president, GSR. We traveled to Dehli, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune, meeting with 76 companies in less than two weeks.
Of most interest to me are the companies involved in the industries that will pave the way for Michigan's future economy, including alternative energy, pharmaceuticals, electric vehicles and so on. We met with several companies with solid endeavors in these areas, and they are all looking for entry to the U.S. market. Our job is to show them why the Detroit region is a natural fit for their business needs.
An immediate success of this mission was a confirmation from a major Indian manufacturing company that is interested in placing wind turbines in Michigan to capture energy. We had visited this company on our mission last year and had the chance to tell them about the infrastructure that exists here, our advantageous shipping location, and the fact that Michigan recently passed a long-awaited Renewable Portfolio Standard that mandates 10 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources by 2015. They wouldn't have known these crucial factors without our visit, and our initial communication helped them realize that Michigan is a natural fit for this new industry. The propeller blades that will be used in this project - and hopefully they will eventually be manufactured here, too - are currently made in Denmark. It is significantly cheaper for the company to bring them to the U.S. via Nova Scotia and through Canada than going to other parts of the U.S., such as Houston, another location they were considering. This is a huge milestone for our emerging industry.
To date, this trip resulted in 15 prospects and 25 leads. Some of the companies are looking to connect with U.S. manufacturing companies that may have excess equipment no longer needed due to technology upgrades or procedural changes, and the Partnership works to connect these companies and act as a liason. Joint ventures are another viable option for U.S. and Indian...