Proactive Recruitment Through Meaningful Trade Shows

 

Written By: Matt Bell, Business Development Manager and Steve Jozefczyk, Deputy Director (December 18, 2023) —

At the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP), we foster growth in our community by attracting businesses to stimulate job creation and capital investment. Leveraging meaningful tradeshows for proactive business recruitment is one of the tools we use to promote business opportunities in our community, generate new leads, and foster collaboration with our partners at the state and federal levels.  

When determining which trade shows our team will attend, we consider several factors, including the industries in attendance, monetary cost, and opportunities to partner with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).  

Partnering with OEDIT and the DOC enhances our value proposition showcased at these events, illustrating a united front and highlighting Colorado’s collaborative ecosystem. These partners are crucial in arranging meetings with vetted businesses interested in operating in our state, further increasing our exposure. 

This year, GJEP represented Mesa County at ten trade shows.  Ideally, we would love to provide in-depth recaps of each tradeshow, however, with limited space, we decided to focus on a select few.   

 

Slush – Helsinki, Finland 

Slush is one of the world’s largest and most renowned startup and tech events, held annually in Helsinki, Finland. It serves as a gathering for entrepreneurs, investors, tech enthusiasts, and industry experts. 

GJEP received a grant and was selected as the sole economic development organization (EDO) to join Colorado’s Global Business Development team. Our delegation included four Colorado businesses, representatives from the Colorado State Forest Service and the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, and the Honorary Consul of Finland in Colorado.  

Over four days, we met with ten Finnish businesses, Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and three research and innovation accelerator programs to introduce them to Colorado’s business opportunities. During each meeting, GJEP helped represent Colorado and promoted Mesa County’s available programs to assist businesses in expanding into the U.S. 

The delegation also hosted a Colorado Happy Hour event and attended an evening at the U.S. Embassy to connect with local Finnish business leaders. The Slush conference was held on the trip’s final day, providing GJEP with an opportunity to meet established businesses and startups to discuss doing business in Colorado.  

 

Avalon 2023 Aerospace and Defense Exposition – Melbourne, Australia 

Our second international trade show was Avalon, a global business and defense expo attracting aerospace and aviation decision-makers. The event provides a platform for businesses to network and promote their services to customers and suppliers. 

GJEP participated in this aerospace expo held in Melbourne, Australia, alongside a delegation from the State of Colorado, including local manufacturers, other EDOs, OEDIT, and the Governor’s Office of Aerospace and Defense. GJEP was the sole EDO in attendance from outside of the I-25 corridor. Mike & Shannon Sneddon with S&G Aerospace & Gas represented Mesa County’s local business community and with the help of GJEP, they were able to secure OEDIT’s STEP grant, which offers financial assistance to small businesses to offset the cost of expanding internationally.   

We engaged in 5 networking occasions during the event, participated in 2 pitch events, and attended an evening hosted at the Governor of Victoria’s mansion. We dedicated five days to exhibiting at the trade show, establishing connections with five new businesses interested in expanding into our community. Additionally, we gathered contact details from over 50 firms actively seeking foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities in the U.S. 

 

Colorado Space Symposium – Colorado Springs, Colorado 

We continued our emphasis on connecting with aerospace and aviation businesses during the Colorado Space Symposium. This event is the state’s foremost aerospace conference, gathering the industry’s leading companies and key decision-makers in Colorado Springs.  

GJEP secured complimentary tickets through our partners. Alongside U.S. aerospace companies, numerous foreign delegations were a focal point of GJEP at this event. By leveraging our connections at the U.S. DOC, we pre-arranged meetings with five foreign delegations interested in foreign direct investment (FDI), resulting in the identification of two promising new aerospace prospects. 

 

SelectUSA – Washington, D.C.  

SelectUSA, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, promotes and facilitates business investment in the United States. The annual SelectUSA Investment Summit is the premier platform for global investors interested in establishing or expanding their operations in the United States.  

For the second consecutive year, GJEP collaborated with OEDIT to attend SelectUSA with their Colorado delegation. This event provided ample networking opportunities, including working at the state’s booth, meeting with prospective businesses and foreign delegations, and engaging in one-on-one meetings to offer insights and support on new investment ventures. 

GJEP met with numerous companies and came away with six companies actively looking to expand into the U.S. market interested in Colorado. SelectUSA has been an impactful event, allowing us to get in front of businesses actively looking for locations to relocate or expand into.  

We are thankful for the strong partnerships cultivated with our state and federal partners and the opportunities GJEP had to connect with businesses and promote our community. GJEP has been able to usher several impactful community wins across the finish line and we anticipate more business relocations and expansions resulting from these proactive recruitment efforts.   

To learn more about the GJEP and our prospect development pipeline, please visit www.gjep.org/activity-ytd 

 

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