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2024 Indiana Global Economic Summit is key to building state’s economy of the future

Presented by: Andrea Richter-Garry

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Two months before the second Indiana Global Economic Summit, Andrea Richter-Garry explains the goals of the Summit and its importance to all Hoosiers. Richter-Garry is chair of the Summit and senior vice president of global strategy and engagement for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Q: What is the Indiana Global Economic Summit?

The Indiana Global Economic Summit is the critical centerpiece of the state’s bold strategy to build tomorrow’s global economy here in the Hoosier state. It’s a one-of-a-kind, state-led summit that brings together government, academia and the private sector to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. It’s about thought leadership, global connections, and how to tie our economic futures together to benefit everyone. And, particularly unique to this summit, it grounds these big, lofty ideas in a practical Midwest approach with a focus on rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.

Q: The Indiana Global Economic Summit is a pivotal event in showcasing the state’s progress and potential on a global scale. What are Indiana’s goals and objectives, and how do those align with the Summit?

The Summit is pivotal in showcasing the state’s competitive advantages and progress on a global scale, but it’s not just a one-time event – it builds our international engagement and business development momentum for the coming year. It’s meant to inspire, to provoke action, and to set a framework and goals as we work to build an economy of the future here in Indiana.

In this way, the Summit and Indiana’s economic vision for the future are one in the same. Under the leadership of Governor Eric J. Holcomb, Secretary David Rosenberg and IEDC Chief Strategy Officer Ann Lathrop, Indiana is laser-focused on cultivating high-tech industries of the future, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and building sustainable and vibrant communities so that all Hoosiers can succeed and prosper. The Summit aims to advance these critical focus areas, taking a strategic approach to make sure we have the right partners, technology and supply chain to realize that future and to ensure that Indiana plays an important role in global progress.

We see this as a ‘team Indiana’ approach, and government can play a unique role as a convener and in helping to align interests. What makes our state unique is that our government, our industry, our educators – and more – all want to elevate the economy of Indiana and want to do that together in a way that’s strategic and focused on not just two years from now, but on five, 10, and 20 years from now. That’s why we continue to build these relationships and invest in our future like never before.

Q: The concept of the Summit being a platform for practical problem-solving and collaboration is compelling. What are some examples of challenges discussed at the inaugural Summit and the innovative solutions that emerged from those discussions?

The semiconductor industry is one area where we’ve seen tremendous growth in the last two years. At the inaugural Indiana Global Economic Summit in 2022, on-stage discussions were focused on questions like: “Will the CHIPS Act pass? Can this technology be brought to a commercial scale in the U.S.? Will Indiana have the framework to leverage and compete for potential investments? How can Indiana be a central piece of the country’s efforts to be a global leader in this sector?”

Indiana announced the launch of the Accelerating Microelectronics Production and Development (AMPD) Task Force at the 2022 Summit as a concentrated effort to answer these questions. Now, here we are, two years later with a robust – and growing – ecosystem.

Since then, seven companies have announced plans to establish semiconductor manufacturing plants here, committing to invest more than $2.2 billion and create more than 1,300 , high-paying jobs for Hoosiers. Additionally, Indiana is now home to a new, 10-acre microelectronics campus – WestGate One – a public-private development near the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC). And the state landed a new federal microelectronics hub designation through the CHIPS Act, bringing $32.9 million in funding in the first year for the Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons Hub.

Because of this collaborative and concerted strategy, Indiana now has the right framework, the right policies and the right players in place to leverage these investments, and our state is quickly becoming a national leader in semiconductors. That impacts not only our economy here in Indiana, but also economic growth, innovation and security on the national level, and we’re honored to be playing such an important role in that.

Q: What role do you see international relations playing as a way to drive innovation and growth in Indiana’s economy?

It’s important to recognize that economic growth and innovation in future-focused industries comes from both within our state and outside our borders. Our universities, our industries and our technology aren’t just siloed in Indiana. We host leading innovators, but some of the great technologies of today and tomorrow are being developed across the world. International relations – and collaborative initiatives like the Summit – is a critical way to find other like-minded, future oriented partners who can share and drive that innovation and growth across Indiana and around the world.

Here at home, our efforts to increase Indiana’s international engagement are paying dividends. The global economy is bringing new money into our state, and we have 200,000 Hoosiers employed today because of it.

In 2023 alone, foreign-owned companies committed to investing $20.49 billion to locate or expand operations in Indiana. This is a 182% increase from 2022, and it accounts for more than 71% of the IEDC’s total committed capital investment in 2023. What’s more, these companies plan to create 8,500 jobs with average salaries topping $83,000 annually, creating even more opportunities for Hoosier families to prosper. 

Q: The 2022 Global Economic Summit attracted a diverse array of dignitaries and industry leaders. Please elaborate on the significance of the partnerships that sprang from that event and how they have evolved since the summit.

We were proud to welcome 30 foreign delegations to the inaugural Summit in 2022, and we’re looking forward to hosting a similar, internationally diverse crowd again this year. These ongoing partnerships are a critical part of Indiana’s comprehensive economic strategy to create more opportunities for Hoosiers.

At the Summit two years ago, we made history by signing the first-ever state agreement with the United Kingdom to build on the strong ties between our two regions. The MOU created a framework for collaboration to remove barriers to trade and investment and increased opportunities for UK and Indiana businesses to grow and create jobs.

Since then, we’ve pushed forward discussions on energy and hydrogen, including input from key private- sector stakeholders like BP and Rolls-Royce; facilitated exchanges with female entrepreneurs and women in economic development; advanced conversations focused on increasing rural development; and hosted government-to-government working groups focused on energy, sustainability and procurement.

Q: Looking ahead to the 2024 Indiana Global Economic Summit, what key themes or topics do you expect will be addressed and how do you envision those discussions affecting Indiana’s economic trajectory?

The Summit’s themes will largely mirror Indiana’s economic strategies and focus on cultivating high-growth sectors, innovation and entrepreneurship, and vibrant communities. At a high level, we’ll explore the foundations of a modern economy, the role of human capital and the economies of the future.

Attendees can expect some sessions to be similar to two years ago – delving into topics like the nexus of emerging technology and national security, the future of mobility, innovation and integration of health ecosystems and the next frontiers of defense – but with new voices and focuses that take stock of where we are now. Conversations will also align with the new global paradigm, accounting for today’s political landscape and the growth of Artificial Intelligence. We’ll start to see new themes emerge as we discuss how to harness new technologies in a responsible way, how that innovation is safely regulated, and how we continue to leverage it as an engine for growth across all sectors.

Q: Finally, the Indianapolis 500 is the culmination of the Indiana Global Economic Summit. How does this iconic event tie into the broader narrative of Indiana’s economic story, and what message does it convey to Summit participants?

I couldn’t imagine a more global event than the Indy 500, which brings together 300,000 people representing nearly all U.S. states and dozens and dozens of countries. Both the race and the Indiana Global Economic Summit share a spirit of convening, collaborating and celebrating unique accomplishments and cultures, so it makes perfect sense to align the two. The Indy 500 is not only the greatest spectacle in racing, but it’s a great backdrop for a global event like this, and the perfect opportunity to showcase Indiana’s hospitality, thriving sports economy and vibrant communities.