IEDC looking to key U.S. markets to generate investments in Hoosier state

The Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s recent hiring of a California-based business development contractor is part of an emerging strategy for the agency: building a network of people in key markets around the U.S. who can scout out business opportunities for the Hoosier state.

This week, the IEDC announced that it has named California-based Jillian Ochs to represent the state to California entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses. The goal is to both increase Indiana’s profile on the West Coast, and to get some of those people and companies to make investments in the Hoosier state.

“She [will] definitely use her network to talk about ‘Why Indiana?’ as these companies are looking to expand,” said Ann Lathrop, the IEDC’s chief strategy officer.

Lathrop said the IEDC sees an opportunity to attract companies that may want to relocate from California or add another location. The agency also sees potential in luring start-ups and small companies here and in convincing California employers to hire Hoosiers as remote employees.

“All of those things are very important,” Lathrop said.

The focus will be on attracting investment from companies in future-focused industries such as life sciences, microelectronics, electronic vehicles, batteries and agricultural technology, she said.

Ochs, who lives in the San Franciso Bay area, is the founder of a business consulting practice called Smith Global. She has more than 12 years of business development experience, including expertise in new market entry, foreign direct investment and global partnerships.

According to the professional services agreement between the IEDC and Ochs, The agency will pay Ochs $13,000 per month, which works out to $156,000 for the one-year contract. In return, Ochs will be expected to come up with 250 West Coast-based companies and share that information with the IEDC. She will also be tasked with participating in at least one conference or event per month and having at least 20 “targeted opportunity” meetings and three “strategic stakeholder” meetings per month. After three months, she will also be expected to make an average of 2.5 “relevant referrals” to the IEDC of projects that the agency can develop into potential Indiana investment deals within 12 months.

Ochs’ contract officially began Nov. 1 and runs through the end of October. Ochs’ engagement with the IEDC could last for longer than that, Lathrop said. “I completely believe that she will be very successful, and we’ll be talking about an extension.”

Ochs is actually the second person that the IEDC has engaged to scout out business opportunities in promising U.S. markets.

About a year ago, the IEDC hired someone to perform a similar role in Chicago. The IEDC decided to start in Chicago, Lathrop said, because of its volume of business activity and its proximity to Indiana.

And California only made sense as the second geography to target, Lathrop said. “California is too rich a target not to go after.”

By the end of this year, Lathrop said, the IEDC hopes to have two additional business development offices in strategic U.S. locations—perhaps one on the East Coast and another somewhere in the Southeast.

Having a network of people who are already in place around the U.S., with knowledge of those local markets, can lead to quicker deal-making, Lathrop said. “We all know that time is of the essence in this environment.”

The IEDC also has similar offices overseas, with a mix of full-time and part-time IEDC employees and contractors doing business development on the state’s behalf in Japan, Israel, China, India, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Those offices have all opened within the past several years, Lathrop said.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

5 thoughts on “IEDC looking to key U.S. markets to generate investments in Hoosier state

  1. This is such a waste of tax payer money. I don’t know how much more obvious they could be about throwing Hoosiers under the bus to out of state (and country) companies and workforces.

    1. This is a great idea that the IEDC should have did no less than 20 years ago.
      Indianapolis and the state have selling points that should be utilized.

      Will these representatives for the state be just scouting out opportunities or
      will they also be given the opportunity to actually contact corporate leaders.
      Direct face to face interaction is extremely important.

      Indiana needs to be far more aggressive in attracting economic development.
      We need representatives to interact in person with corporate leaders.
      *** There is no substitute for face to face interactions for developing personal
      relationships. It builds trust and familiarity. ****

    1. I agree with Keith B. Indiana has to be just as aggressive with economic development of any kind as we are with sports and conventions. The west coast is already established and looking for other locations. So it’s going to very competitive for Indiana. The southeast is fast becoming a go to for California companies, Texas in particular. Nashville and Raleigh are out pacing Indy as well as Columbus and Austin Texas. The low cost of living alone isn’t enough to lure people to want to move here, so Indiana has to get creative and not so conservative. People like a good quality of life, less government and lots of entertainment and things to do when they’re not working. Indiana needs to become more diverse and appealing to singles. The state always brag about a great place to raise a family but leave out the professional singles. The state has to catch up with the times and what’s trending, like legalizing marijuana.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}