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May 1 - 4, 2023, investors, entrepreneurs, companies, economic development organizations (EDOs), and industry experts from around the world came together at the SelectUSA Investment Summit – the top event in the United States for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) promotion. Fifteen U.S. Governors and several high-level federal government officials were in attendance.

For 2023, the event returned to National Harbor, Maryland, inviting participants to establish new connections and opportunities to locate or grow their companies in the U.S.

Map of California

In alignment with Governor Gavin Newson’s  commitment to helping small businesses thrive, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) led a delegation of local economic developers from across the state. This year, GO-Biz decided for the first time to include institutions of Higher Education in their delegation and UC Riverside was the only UC campus invited. The university is home to groundbreaking research and renowned faculty comprised of distinguished scholars, researchers, and experts in their fields. A wide range of programs and resources are offered to cultivate talent and support workforce development.

Throughout the week, delegation members had the opportunity to engage with numerous international companies interested in establishing operations in California. The delegation had access to more than a hundred such businesses, and shared information on incentives, services, facilities, and other resources to help them choose the Golden State. California’s institutions of higher education attract many of these companies with their research excellence.

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Rodolfo H. Torres, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, Rosibel Ochoa, Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Partnerships, and Kathy Eiler, Senior Director of Federal Relations represented UC Riverside and worked closely with regional partners to show how Inland Southern California is the ideal place for businesses to soft land and scale, with access to everything California has to offer, at a lower cost, and with a personalized approach to help companies thrive. They also proactively interacted with government officials and discussed numerous grants and funding opportunities upcoming from the Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Vice Chancellor Torres delivered the keynote address at the “Meet California Breakfast.” His message focused on why California is a prime destination for international businesses to develop their companies. His keynote highlighted the strengths of Inland Southern California as a region with a growing innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem focused on developing sustainable solutions to address the world’s most complex problems.

He also discussed how UC Riverside is leading the way in contributing to economic development and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, in the community, and beyond. He provided an overview of OASIS and its programmatic activities and infrastructure projects, as well as specialized facilities including state-of-the-art incubators, the Nanofabrication Lab, the BREATHE Center housed in the School of Medicine, and the Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT).

Vice Chancellor Torres shared how UC Riverside’s Office of Technology Partnerships provides individualized support to early-stage tech entrepreneurs and companies to grow their businesses and services available to international entrepreneurs to overcome challenges, explore, and penetrate the U.S market. He also emphasized the role UCR jointly with other institution of higher education in the region plays in terms of workforce development and training adapted to new technological needs.

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There were multiple networking opportunities including in-person engagement in the exhibition hall, time to connect with panelists during the investment academy sessions, and meetings with fellow participants. UC Riverside and its Inland Southern California regional economic development partners will follow up with numerous companies engaged at the event to provide personalized guidance to help them navigate the U.S. market; identify funding, private investors, site selection, workforce training programs; and access our region’s highly educated workforce.

SelectUSA is the U.S. government program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on facilitating the insertion of foreign companies in the country and raising awareness of the critical role the private sector plays in the U.S. economy. Since its inception, SelectUSA has facilitated more than $146 billion in investment, creating and/or retaining over 166,000 U.S. jobs.