Business networking event seeks to pair foreign investment, NJ companies

Daniel J. Munoz | NJBIZ

New Jersey’s government and business officials want to make one thing clear to the rest of the world: the state is open for business.

On Thursday, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, and Choose New Jersey held an open networking event with delegates from more than a dozen countries and New Jersey businesses eyeing relationships across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

“This is really about building relationships, and partnerships,” CIANJ President Anthony Russo said in his prepared remarks at the Weehawken event.

The EDA runs an Office of International Trade and Investment to reach that goal, while Choose NJ – a nonprofit which markets the state to businesses abroad – operates a similarly-goaled office in Germany and another in India.Thursday’s attendees include delegates from the New York consultants for Germany and India – where Gov. Phil Murphy took part in week-long economic trade missions – and from business councils or consulates representing Austria, Canada, China, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Romania, Taiwan, Turkey and Belgium.

“It’s really a unique opportunity for us and the Office of International Trade and Investment to connect … with the diplomatic and international business community,” Sara Cadeddu, an analyst for the office, said at the event.

The governor’s trip to Germany, and his roughly four years as ambassador to the country, played no small part in the country’s attraction to New Jersey, according to Jens Janik, deputy consul general at Germany’s consulate in New York City. “A lot of German companies are in New Jersey,” Janik said. “It’s a good location.”

New Jersey hosts one of the highest populations of Indian-Americans in the country – including at the Oak Tree Road neighborhood in Edison and Bombay Square in Jersey City – which has proven to be a huge attraction for Indian businesses eyeing the country to choose the state, according to Devi Prasad Misra, trade consul at India’s consulate office in New York City.

“In New Jersey we have a strong presence, there are a number of Indian companies already in New Jersey,” Misara said.

The make or break factors for moving into the state, Misara pointed out, are “availability of talent” and “connectivity with the rest of the world,” both of which New Jersey receives high marks.

Berenice Penilla Moya, who heads economic affairs at Mexico’s consulate general in New York City, said that the vast majority of Mexican-owned businesses in New Jersey are smaller and family-owned, and so the push is to attract that kind of investment into the state.

“We are well-represented,” she said. “New Jersey’s one of the biggest, for example Passaic. We have a really big community there.”

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