In May, 2009, iiGrowth CEO, Gustav Plato addressed the participants of the US Baltic Foundation’s annual gala. During this presentation he focused on the role of the Chamber in growing the Baltic Brand with a vision to increase trade between the Americas and Latvia ten-fold.
Recently, the Greater Washington Initiative (GWI) developed a series of videos entitled “Power Profiles”. We highlighted GWI as one of the organization’s that has extensive knowledge and insights into the Washington DC metropolitan area. GWI is is a “regional economic development, marketing and research organization that promotes the Greater Washington region as the premier business destination”.
One of the videos is by Matt Erskine, who is the Executive Director of the Greater Washington Initiative (GWI). Matt joined GWI in May of 2008. Matt and Gustav Plato, CEO, of iiGrowth LLC, worked together at Coopers & Lybrand Consulting (now IBM Consulting). After many years, their paths have crossed again with respect to mutual interests to promote the Washington DC metropolitan area as a location that must be considered when thinking about entry into the US market. In the video, Matt discusses his views on why the Washington region is strong, stable, resilient, diverse, and growing. Other videos are available for viewing at GWI’s News and Events Page.
ii Growth LLC is located in Bethesda, Maryland, is in the heart of the U.S.’s most vibrant economic sector, the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, which includes Washington D.C. Northern Virginia, and Suburban Maryland. For international companies looking to enter the US market, the Washington Metropolitan Area offers many advantages.
According to June 2009 study by the Greater Washington Initiative (GWI) the region led the nation in job growth over the last 10 years and is the 4th largest in terms of Gross Regional Product (GRP) and population. The region is also home to the largest IT cluster in the United States as well as large and growing biotech and aerospace industries.
The region has a number of attributes that make it attractive to international firms:
Access to markets
A productive labor force
University and R&D support
Ease of transportation
Assistance in meeting the right people
A desirable place to live
The area has tremendous reach. It is an international communications hub, with excellent air access internationally. Over 60% of the U.S. population lives within a one-day drive/2-hour flight of Washington D.C.
Because of its geographic location and size, economic strength, large number of knowledge workers (over 1 million), universities and educations systems, and proximity to the US Federal Government there is a well developed ecosystem for doing business. This breadth also supports and enables leveraging significant cross-market opportunities that allow for accelerated market growth. The government and technology markets are particularly attractive for US market entry and can leverage one another.
Federal, State, and Local Markets
The Federal Government is the largest buyer in the world. The U.S. federal government market has grown 250 percent from 2000 to 2008. It is projected that the government will buy more than $500 billion USD in 2009. The federal government will continue to be the largest single buyer of goods and services in the world. The Washington Metropolitan area is the largest buyer within the Federal market with California being a distant second.
In addition, the Metropolitan areas boasts strong regional and local governments including Anne Arundel, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland, as well as Fairfax, Alexandria (city) Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William in Virginia. Many of the counties also are home for technology innovation centers and incubators.
Each of the regions is also home for international businesses. For example:
WGI reports over 700 foreign firms doing business in Washington Metro Area
Fairfax County reports it has over 360 foreign businesses.
Montgomery County reports it has over 100 foreign owned businesses (550 in the state of Maryland).
According to the GWI June, 2009 report, “Greater Washington’s technology cluster has the country’s highest concentration of network and computer systems administrators, database administrators, and computer programmers. The region also has six times the national average of computer scientists and four times the national average of computer software engineers.
iiGrowth CEO, Gustav Plato, founded the Latvian Chamber of Commerce in the Americas in December 2008 to promote trade and investment between the Americas and Latvia. The Chamber is off to a strong start and this was reflected in the recent opening of the Chamber at the offices of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), which is a coalition of 14 locals governments in the commonwealth of Virginia. NVRC works regionally on issues including the international energy, the environment, human services and regional emergency preparedness.
LatCham founding member and Chairperson Gustav Plato praised Northern Virginia for its diversity and vibrant economy and expressed his interest in promoting mutually beneficial exchanges between Latvian businesses and businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Mark Gibb, Executive Director of NVRC stated, “The co-location of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission is a mutually beneficial partnership with many opportunities for collaboration on local, regional and international issues. This is a big advantage for Northern Virginia.
Ventspils High Technology Park and iiGrowth LLC sign a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate investment and trade between the United States and Latvia
Ivars Eglajs, the Chairman of the Board of Ventspils High Technology Park said that iiGrowth LLC would deliver strategy and international marketing services to companies located in the technology park. iiGrowth LLC is a global strategy and management consulting business with representation in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
Gustav Plato, Chief Executive Officer of iiGrowth LLC, stated, “I am pleased to announce that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ventspils High Technology Park to help Latvian, US, and UK businesses enhance their opportunities for trade and growth. We view VHTP as a market leader and market maker and are excited about working with them and companies at the park. I believe that our joint mission has profound importance, particularly in light of the current economic climate. Together, we can forge new inroads in terms of introducing potential Latvian businesses who will look to the United States and United Kingdom for new business opportunities and to US and UK businesses who are doing business or planning to do business in Latvia.
Ēriks Rūsis has joined the iiGrowth Business Advisory Council. Erik will leverage his startup experience in the EU market and guide iiGrowth in establishing its EU presence. Erik has over 20 years human resources management, general management and business development experience in multi-national, cross-border environments in Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Japan and the USA. He has extensive experience in helping Latvian firms establish or expand their presence in other countries.
As CEO, Eriks opened operations in Russia and Germany for a large Latvian construction group. Serving as Business Development Manager he established offices in Stockholm, Tokyo and Berlin for a leading Latvian bank. Most recently, Eriks served as a director of the integrated solutions provider Lattelecom. He is now based near London in the UK. Eriks earned an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a B.A. from the University of Washington.
Gustav Plato, iiGrowth CEO, is the Business Program Chair for the 2009 Supply Chain Venture Forum. This year’s conference, held in Washington DC Metropolitan Area promises to be a very exciting and will have a great mix of emerging and established businesses as well as government ministries and government owned corporations.
What is the Forum?
The 2009 US Baltic Foundation’s Supply Chain Venture Forum is a must-attend event for innovative companies looking for new business opportunities in logistics, supply chain, and emerging technologies. iiGrowth LLC and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce are leading an international organizing committee from the United States, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Featured Speaker
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Republic of Estonia Why Attend?
The benefits for attending the forum include:
* Increase sales in the Baltic and Nordic region
* How to reach clients in Europe, Russia, and Far East
* How to enter the US market
* Build reliable global and local supply chains
* Access the latest technologies to lower operating costs and make you more competitive
* How to finance your “Big Idea
The US Baltic Foundation (www.usbaltic.org) invited IIGrowth CEO, Gustav Plato, to lead the USBF’s 2009 Business Program.
The U.S.-Baltic Foundation is an educational resource for U.S. policy-makers and the public. A national organization that unites all American friends of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, USBF develops and implements programs to strengthen democracy and free markets in the Baltics. The Foundation also introduces the Baltics to new American audiences with a series of public affairs programs.
The 2009 business program will be conducted as part of the US Baltic Confluence, which includes a Business Forum, Baltic Exchange, and Gala. The theme for the 2009 program is “Economic Growth Through Social Responsibility”. The Baltics have a long tradition of respect for nature, the environment, and sustainable development. It is part of the fabric of the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian societies, and has its roots in over a 1000 years of Baltic traditions and practices.
Similar to the resurgance of the Baltic economies, there is a worldwide resurgance in sustainable development. Key Baltic industries including Transportation and Logistics, Information Technology, and Healthy Living will come together with US business leaders and financial investors to identify new collaborative business opportunities.
Maria Kivisild Ogrydziak, Chairman of the U.S.- Baltic Foundation also announced that Valdis Zatlers, President of Latvia, will headline a three-day series of Baltic cultural and business development events on May 14-17 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC. Sponsored by The U.S.- Baltic Foundation (USBF), the 2009 gala weekend will feature a business conference, an exchange program summit, a silent auction and black-tie gala dinner to highlight the special and growing ties between the U.S. and the Baltic States.