When Investing in the US – Get to Know Your Regional Development Authority
As a federal structure the United States is unique when compared to Canadian and European countries in the delivery of economic development services.   In many countries economic benefits or incentive packages are negotiated at the federal/national or provincial level.   In the United States the delivery of benefits and incentives is negotiated at the state – but more importantly – at the regional/local level.

Thus, companies seeking to expand into North America and the north east should identify regional (multi-county) public authorities to advise and assist them in their location decisions.  Regional economic development authorities combine the capabilities found in state government in the United States yet have that local touch that is essential for finding the right location.  This is the significance of the Kennebec Regional Development Authority (KRDA) for European firms considering expanding into the North East US.

The KRDA – like its limited counterparts in the north east – have the scale necessary to advise and assist expanding companies seeking locations to invest.  It is networked – through public and private partners – throughout the Atlantica region. The KRDA offers small-to-emerging enterprises seeking their first phased overseas expansion with technical assistance from accountancy to visas (and everything in between).  Many of these private sector advisors are linked to a world-wide service alliance with in their regions – thus these providers are focused on cross-border interests and concerns.  The KRDA is a multi-functional and multi-capable organization much like the “inward investment agencies” that European firms are familiar with, unlike the programmatically stove piped entities found in the US at echelons above the region.  It represents a one stop shop that can leverage public and private assistance.

The Kennebec Region’s Place in Atlantica
The Kennebec Valley is blessed by its economic geography.   Situated in the heart of the Atlantica region the Kennebec valley combines access to markets on the continent with access to natural resources:

  • The Kennebec Valley provides access to the most lucrative markets on the continent. These include the Boston-Washington corridor (with a population of over 50 million) and the NAFTA corridor along Canada’s heartland and its multi-modal transportation corridor along the Quebec City – Montreal – Toronto – Windsor axis.
  • The Kennebec Valley’s land use transitions from the urban agglomeration to the Northern forest. The quality and quantity of our water is second to none in the country – a critical factor for your process water manufacturing.   The agricultural a forestry segments remain substantial in the region.

Thus the Kennebec Region offers a competitive price-point (rents, wages, interest) while providing access to the factors of production (land, labor, capital).  Dennis Donovan, with the site location firm Wadley-Donovan-Gottshaw, notes that the Kennebec Valley Region offers a 20% discount in these factors when compared to regions to the south.  This assessment excludes the redundant numbers in our defense related original equipment manufacturers and their tiered supply chain, which dominates the valley, who are now confronting federal defense budgetary cutbacks and sequestration.

A Culture of Sustainability & Yankee Ingenuity
The Kennebec Valley is ideal for those firms whose business model and corporate culture embrace “sustainability development.”   The region embraces a tradition of “Yankee Ingenuity,” doing more with less.  The region is home to MOFGA – the oldest organic growers association in the country.  Among its many colleges it is blessed with Unity – focused on the imperative of sustainability science – producing transdisciplinary graduates of visionary leaders, problem solvers and stewards of the earth.  The New Brunswick firm Envirem recently selected Unity, Maine for its first US investment location.  Firms such as Maine Grains and its alliance in the kneading conference reinforce the region’s sustainability culture.

A Development Corridor & Gateway for Markets
The Kennebec Valley is situated along the state’s paramount development corridor.  The State’s transportation (road/rail), communication and energy infrastructure parallel in the Kennebec region resulting in a robust multi-modal corridor.  The region is served by the I-95 and I-295 interstate.  The Pan Am rail line traverses the region and provides an intermodal facility in the heart of the region – where Poland Spring Water trans-ships its product.  Communications networks line this multimodal corridor providing state of art fiber optic communications networked to the Boston-Washington Corridor and the Canadian NAFTA corridor.   It is equidistant to the state’s largest urban centers: Portland and Bangor and benefits from agglomeration forces.  It contains industry agglomerations in forest products, composite materials products, metal fabrication products, food products bio-pharma and medical/educational services.

The Kennebec Regional Development Authority will be calling on New European Economy readers to arrange appointments during the spring of 2017.  We hope to see your operations and begin the dialog and the relationship to advise and assist you with your expansion plans into Atlantica, the US and Central Maine.

Or reach out to:
Brad Jackson, Executive Director, Kennebec Regional Development Authority at 001-207-859-9716 or bjackson@firstpark.com