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Friday, 23 January 2015

San Antonio MBDA Business Center’s Export Strategies Support Foreign Direct Investment


The San Antonio MBDA Business Center’s specialty is helping minority businesses (MBEs) find exporting opportunities in Latin America. Aligning with White House initiatives such as Look South, the center has assisted numerous MBEs develop international market entry strategies that vary by sector, size, capabilities, targeted countries and regions


The MBDA Business Center’s San Antonio Global Pathways Initiative has proven to be a conduit of global opportunities for domestic MBE clients. As a result of this success, some clients have engaged in partnerships with foreign enterprises.


“One of the tasks associated with the services we offer MBE’s preparing to export is to assist them with business to business relationships,” said Orestes Hubbard, Director of the San Antonio MBDA Business Center. “This service creates a two way opportunity for our client that sometimes serves as a platform to bring foreign direct investment into the U.S.”


BBM Staffing, LLC, a Mexican staffing services company, is an example of the benefit of the business to business relationship concept. The center has helped BBM Staffing, LLC expand their presence in Texas by helping them gain access to markets and capital for their operations.


Hubbard said there are a significant number of medium to large companies in Latin America that are qualified to partner with U.S. MBE’s, and who are pursuing opportunities to invest in the U.S.


“Our goal is to diligently use all the resources available to help our MBEs grow in size and scale,” said Hubbard. “We realize that creating relationships with companies abroad and helping them pursue opportunities here in the U.S. leads to foreign direct investment. That’s a win-win in our book.”


To learn more about how the San Antonio MBDA Business Center helps minority-owned businesses find exporting opportunities and create partnerships that lead to foreign direct investment visit www.mbda.gov.




Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

The Outlook for the United States at the World at the World Economic Forum



Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Thursday, 22 January 2015

2015 Will Be the Biggest Year Yet for International Opportunities for Regional Economic Development


Guest blog post by JoAnn Crary, CEcD, President of Saginaw Future, Inc. and 2015 Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council


2015 is off to a great start for International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and I am excited and honored to spend the next 12 months as the Chair of our Board of Directors. In this capacity, I will be traveling the globe and conferring with my fellow economic developers on many of the pressing issues and opportunities our profession is facing. One event I am particularly looking forward to attending is the 2nd SelectUSA Investment Summit. Having attended the first Investment Summit in 2013, I can personally attest to the value of coming to Washington to meet with colleagues from across the U.S., hundreds of international investors – I’m told this year’s summit will feature twice as many investors – and hear from a robust speaking program featuring top administration leaders in foreign direct investment attraction.


Foreign direct investment has proven to be a vital tool in the economic developer’s toolbox in the years following the Great Recession. In my own community, Saginaw, Michigan, it has contributed to the creation or retention of thousands of jobs over the past five years. One company, Nexteer, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in expanding their operations in Saginaw, which has resulted in thousands of jobs being created or retained. As an economic developer, I cannot overstate the importance of the resources that SelectUSA has provided my organization and countless others within my profession. Simply put: SelectUSA brings clarity, focus and action to the role of the federal government in supporting FDI attraction at the local, regional and state level. They are an essential partner in the work of economic developers to create jobs and improve the quality of life in our communities. They are also a valued partner of IEDC in Washington and have played a key role in raising the profile of our profession over the past few years.


Over the course of this year, IEDC will embark on the important work of creating training resources related to FDI attraction and export promotion. This work has been made possible through the generosity of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and will include training manuals and training courses on best practices and emerging trends in FDI attraction and export promotion. We will also be launching an effort to support reshoring activities, a project made possible by the Economic Development Administration with support from SelectUSA and other Department of Commerce resources, such as the Assessing Costs Everywhere (ACE) program. ACE is a useful tool for helping companies asses the real costs of doing business here at home versus overseas. No doubt we will have many opportunities to bring attention to the NEI/NEXT initiative, which is the second phase of the administration’s high-priority export promotion program that is already helping U.S. businesses expand the market reach of products and services made in the USA.


2015 will be a busy year for IEDC and the most productive year yet for programs and initiatives supporting attracting foreign investment, luring back previously U.S.-based business operations, and expanding opportunities for U.S. exporters. As we celebrate the end of 2015 next December, I am certain IEDC, our members, and our many partners within the Department of Commerce will be able to reflect on a long-list of accomplishments we can be proud of. I hope to see you at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in March, as well as at one of our exciting upcoming conferences.




Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Broadband: The Electricity of the 21st Century


Cross blog post by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, The White House Blog


Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, American business owners, scientists, and entrepreneurs have driven our economy forward and kept the United States leading the way in innovation and global competition. A thread woven through the fabric of our national identity has been having the most productive and highly skilled workforce in the world.


A 21st-century America should be no different.


In order to help revitalize a struggling American economy in the post-Depression 1930s, the Rural Electrification Act called for a push to electrify rural areas. Connecting otherwise hard-to-reach communities through electricity and telephone services gave them the ability to more easily compete on both the national and global economic stage. It was an idea as deeply important to the viability of 20th-century rural America as telecommunications and broadband Internet access is today.


For most Americans, the click of a mouse is all it takes to open the door to a world of up-to-the-minute information and global commerce. In remote communities in particular, broadband brings with it new access to health care, education, and economic opportunities that have not been available in the past. But there are still many for whom this is not yet a reality.


In our travels across the country, time and time again we hear stories of the positive impacts of our work building a strong, secure infrastructure. Investments in broadband access have helped our workforce keep up with the increasingly fast speed of business and ensured that our rural communities remain competitive and attractive to new investors.


Since 2009, USDA has invested in new and improved broadband service to 1.49 million rural residents. That means expanded access to state-of-the-art health care, educational and cultural resources, and the opportunity for local businesses to compete in the global economy. In addition to core investments in broadband infrastructure, USDA has financed technologies that rely on broadband to ensure that rural Americans have access to 21st-century technology for education, health, and day-to-day life. For example, since 2009, our investments have helped more than 2,500 rural health care facilities use telemedicine to improve medical services for people living in remote rural areas, and more than 4,600 rural schools implement distance learning technology to expand their reach and improve access to information for thousands of students.


The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) invested more than $4 billion in grants through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program to build network infrastructure, establish public computer centers, and develop digital literacy training to expand broadband adoption. Through those projects, we’ve made significant progress. Commerce grantees have built or upgraded more than 113,000 miles of fiber and connected nearly 25,000 community anchor institutions, such as schools and libraries. Our grantees also have established or upgraded 3,000 public computer centers, trained more than 4 million people, and helped roughly 735,000 households sign up for broadband.


For example, in 2010, NTIA awarded a $16.2 million grant to Iowa Communications Network (ICN) to bring enhanced broadband capabilities to community anchor institutions throughout all of Iowa’s 99 counties. Previously, Iowa’s rural geography made it difficult to attract high-speed Internet providers to the area. ICN’s leadership knew that upgrading its existing 3,000-mile network would be a crucial step in promoting economic and educational opportunities in the state. Upon project completion in June 2013, the ICN project had upgraded its 3,000-mile network, deployed 123 miles of new and leased fiber, and connected more than 2,800 community anchor institutions to the network.


That is the impact of investing in broadband.


And we are still opening more doors.


Yesterday, President Obama announced that he is challenging the federal government to remove all unnecessary regulatory barriers to broadband build-out and competition, and is establishing a new Broadband Opportunity Council. The council will bring together more than a dozen government agencies with the singular goal of speeding broadband deployment and improving access in areas that need it most.


As part of this effort, USDA is accepting applications to its Community Connect broadband grant program and will reopen a revamped broadband loan program, which offers financing to eligible rural carriers that invest in bringing high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved rural areas.


Commerce’s NTIA unveiled our BroadbandUSA initiative aimed at finding new ways to assist communities seeking to ensure their citizens have the broadband capacity they need to advance economic development, education, health care, and public safety. As part of BroadbandUSA, we will share the lessons learned and best practices developed by companies, state and local governments, and other organizations that received our grants. We will use everything from toolkits and training programs, to webinars and workshops, to provide technical assistance, funding leads and basic guidance to communities as they grow their broadband capacity and use.


We know that an investment in broadband infrastructure is an investment in a strong, healthy, educated workforce. With yesterday’s announcement, the Obama administration continues to underscore our commitment to keeping America connected and competitive, and to making sure we do our part to give all Americans the opportunity to succeed.




Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

2015: The Year to Launch and Scale in the United States


By John D. Breidenstine, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy, London


The United Kingdom and Ireland are both home to flourishing tech startups looking for the right opportunities to grow globally. The United States is the logical target for their expansion, especially given its 320 million consumers, free trade agreements with 20 other markets, and massive market for technology purchases.


Furthermore, there is plenty of precedent. Companies from the UK and Ireland have outstanding track records of succeeding in our country. The UK is the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States, with $564.7 billion total stock as of 2013. According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, affiliates of UK companies in the United States are responsible for more than 962,900 American jobs. Ireland is the eighth largest source of FDI, whose investors are responsible for more than $117 billion stock as of 2013 and 168,900 U.S. jobs as of 2012.


Startups can also tap into the incredible resources available in the United States. Our entrepreneurial culture is the perfect business climate for startups to thrive. Just look at the numbers: According to the Kauffman Foundation’s Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, an average of 476,000 new businesses were created each month in 2013. The United States leads the world in innovation and intellectual property protection, accounting for roughly 30 percent of global research and development (R&D). In 2012 alone, companies from the U.K. and Ireland combined spent nearly $9 billion on R&D in the United States, contributing significantly to the intellectual diversity of all three countries. So how can SelectUSA, the U.S. government-wide program to facilitate investment into the United States, help even more companies to make the leap across the Atlantic? SelectUSA provides information, connects businesses with the right people, and helps investors navigate the federal government (learn more about our full range of services). In addition, the Commercial Service (CS) in the U.K. and Ireland launched a new initiative in 2014—SelectUSA Tech—to give early-stage technology companies the tools that they need to launch their businesses in the United States.


SelectUSA Tech’s 2014 “boot camp-style” events in London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast brought together public and private-sector experts to address legal, tax, accounting, insurance, and visa/immigration issues, while also covering how tech entrepreneurs can access U.S. buyers, venture capital, debt financing, and general banking services. A final, key component of the events has been a “lessons learned” panel of local startups, who share their experiences launching and scaling stateside. For more information about SelectUSA Tech Seminars, check out the flyer from September’s Edinburgh event or the highlights reels from our London or Dublin events. We also regularly participate in tech conferences and at incubator briefings. For example, over the course of a single week in October, CS UK held a SelectUSA Tech Seminar in Belfast, hosted a LDNY (London-New York Festival) #scaling2cities tech entrepreneur event at the U.S. Embassy, and co-sponsored “The Transatlantic Startup” event organized by the Global Innovation Forum.


Startups can also learn more about the U.S. market at the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit coming up in March, which will enable entrepreneurs to meet with economic development offices from across the United States, all in one building. The day before the Summit, we’ll also be holding a SelectUSA Academy to present the basics of investing and launching a business in the United States at a level of detail that will be particularly useful for startups and entrepreneurs.




Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Staff-Led Groups Create Change Within the International Trade Administration

This year, the International Trade Administration’s Industry and Analysis (I&A) team launched the “Renaissance Project.” The initiative aims to create a system of turning ideas into actions, and it has helped increase our team’s productivity and boost morale.


Through the project, we challenged a series of staff working groups to develop ideas to not only make I&A a better place to work, but also come up with tangible, actionable steps to put those ideas into motion.


Every three to four months, a new group of interested volunteers discussed a particular theme, and then identified the concrete steps necessary to make improvements to I&A under their theme. Most importantly, after putting together a proposal to senior I&A management, each group actually took the steps to make to the recommended improvements.


Throughout the course of the past year, five groups have met as part of the Renaissance Project to work on their particular “theme” of issues, ranging from post-reorganization cohesion to long-standing issues:


1. Getting to Know the New I&A


2. Improving Communication


3. Training and Mentoring


4. Identity, Branding, and Image


5. Employee Recognition and Retention<--break->


As a member of a working group, we were asked to think about both short- and long-term solutions, embracing not only more complicated projects but also considering several smaller improvements that could be implemented immediately. With enthusiastic support from senior management, we have been able to implement or achieve progress on several new initiatives, including:


* I&A Social Hour – BYO coffee events hosted by various offices within the unit to promote informal interaction among staff from different areas of the unit.


* I&A Conversation Series – Informal speaking events where staff share experiences on interesting projects, detail rotations, or share insight on a variety of issues to leverage the knowledge already existing within I&A for the betterment of all.


* I&A Responsibilities Matrix – Expand the existing staff directory to include a list of responsibilities for each staff member and office which can be shared to promote awareness of the work going on within I&A and who to contact with issue-specific questions.


* Brown Bag Lunch Discussions – Informal dialogue sessions where staff and senior management can communicate feedback, updates, and have general two-way discussions on a variety of issues and activities.


* Training Matrix – A collection of training recommendations grouped by skill type, career series, and level, with the goal of improving the various skillsets ideally found in I&A staff. We have also dedicated funds for some of these training events to continuously hone the skills of our team.


In addition to getting to know our teammates better, this project has promoted increased interaction among our staff and a heightened sense of initiative and involvement in I&A’s future. Along with benefits to both productivity and morale, the Renaissance Project allowed the unit to take greater advantage of our in-house skills and develop more efficient ways of using our shared knowledge. We’ve found that folks within I&A have a variety of fresh ideas and now a new sense of purpose that has helped create new leaders among the team.


It’s a great bit of momentum for us as we enter 2015 and we look forward to our most productive year yet!




Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Secretary Pritzker Answers Questions about Entrepreneurship

Secretary Penny Pritzker attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)in Marrakech, Morocco. As the Administration’s point person on entrepreneurship, Secretary Pritzker led a U.S. delegation to the Summit, demonstrating the U.S. government’s continued commitment to fostering a culture of innovation around the world.


During her time there, she took questions about entrepreneurship and innovation from Twitter users. Below is a transcript of the Twitter chat.






Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Friday, 14 November 2014

Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews Concludes Trip to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit


This week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews concluded his four-day trip to Beijing, China for the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the APEC CEO Summit 2014. Deputy Secretary Andrews met with numerous CEOs and business leaders. He represented the Department of Commerce which promotes stronger U.S. economic and commercial ties in the Asia-Pacific.

To help promote foreign investment in the United States, Deputy Secretary Andrews participated in a roundtable focused on innovation and investment, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and CEOs from nine of China's most influential companies.

Deputy Secretary Andrews also moderated a business ethics roundtable, focusing on the importance of public-private partnerships in raising ethical standards in the healthcare industry. He briefed attendees on the progress made to date and discussed how governments and industry can work together to ensure continued progress.

Deputy Secretary Andrews held successful bilateral meetings with officials from various countries, including the Vietnamese Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Khanh and the Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed. In their conversations, he reiterated the U.S. commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the benefits that would come out of both countries.

APEC is central to U.S. economic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, serving as the leading forum for facilitating trade and investment and promoting economic growth in one of the most dynamic regions in the world. The Department of Commerce’s participation in many APEC issues – including business ethics, cross border data privacy, disaster risk reduction, and oceans – reflects its commitment to strengthening collaboration with Asian economies in a range of sectors, and reflects the President’s message of support for existing multi-lateral institutions in Asia.



Regards,
Otmane El Rhazi
Department of Commerce
Economic Development
Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Thursday, 13 November 2014

U.S. Census Bureau Announces Nearly 8 in 10 Americans Have Access to High-Speed Internet


An estimated 78.1 percent of people in U.S. households had a high-speed Internet connection last year, according to a new report released today from the U.S. Census Bureau. However, digital divides exist among the nation’s metropolitan areas and demographic groups.


These statistics come from the American Community Survey, which collected data on this topic for the first time in 2013 and is the largest survey used to examine computer and Internet use in the U.S.


Although most Americans have access to computers and high-speed Internet, differences in high-speed Internet use were as large as 25 percentage points between certain age and race groups, while divides between specific income and educational attainment groups were as large as 45 percentage points. In addition, among the nation’s metro areas, Boulder, Colo., had one of the highest rates of high-speed Internet use at 96.9, while Laredo, Texas, had one of the lowest rates at 69.3 percent.


The report released today, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013, includes analysis of household computer ownership and Internet use by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, income and education. It covers areas of the country with populations larger than 65,000.


“These new statistics show how the American Community Survey gives communities the information they need on both computer and Internet access for their residents,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “As the Census Bureau continues to move more surveys online to reduce respondent burden, these statistics inform us of areas that have high and low Internet use. These statistics also provide the information communities and federal agencies need to make decisions to improve and expand broadband Internet access for all Americans.”


For the full release and report, please visit http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2014/cb14-202.html




Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Quelle différence entre temps « périscolaire » et temps « extrascolaire » ?

Avec la généralisation de la réforme des rythmes scolaires depuis la rentrée 2014, on entend souvent parler de temps « périscolaire » mais quelle est la différence avec ce qu'on appelle le temps « extrascolaire » ?

C'est un décret publié au Journal officiel du 5 novembre 2014 qui définit distinctement les deux termes :

les accueils de loisirs « périscolaires » sont ceux qui ont lieu lorsqu'il y a école dans la journée,

les accueils de loisirs « extrascolaires » sont ceux qui se déroulent pendant les temps (...)

Cordialement,

Otmane El Rhazi

Service Public

Administration & Economy

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Crous : élections étudiantes entre le 6 et le 28 novembre 2014

Les élections des représentants étudiants aux conseils d'administration des Centres régionaux des œuvres universitaires et sociales (Crous) se déroulent entre le 6 et le 28 novembre 2014 (une seule journée par académie).

Les étudiants peuvent :

soit voter par procuration (établie sur un imprimé numéroté par le Crous à retirer au plus tard la veille du scrutin),

soit voter eux-mêmes en présentant l'original de leur carte d'étudiant dans l'un des bureaux de vote de leur académie (lycées, restaurants (...)

Cordialement,

Otmane El Rhazi

Service Public

Administration & Economy

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Agents contractuels de l'État : période d'essai, rémunération, licenciement, quoi de neuf ?

Période d'essai, rémunération, licenciement... Un décret publié au Journal officiel du 5 novembre 2014 définit de nouvelles règles pour les agents contractuels de l'État .

Période d'essai

La durée initiale de la période d'essai peut être modulée à raison d'un jour ouvré par semaine de durée de contrat, dans la limite :

de trois semaines lorsque la durée initialement prévue au contrat est inférieure à six mois,

d'un mois lorsque la durée initialement prévue au contrat est inférieure à un an,

deux mois (...)

Cordialement,

Otmane El Rhazi

Service Public

Administration & Economy

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Connecting Minority Serving Institutions with Research and Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Earlier this month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) hosted a special event for minority serving institutions to foster collaborations that could increase minority participation in scientific research and entrepreneurship. Representatives from large and small colleges and universities across the country gathered to learn about NIST’s national research priorities and about “lab-to-market” opportunities from both NIST and the MBDA.


MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo explained why the event was timely in her opening remarks when she said, “Wealth creation is happening in the high technology sector, but only four percent of those businesses are minority owned. Minority serving institutions are not only positioned to educate scientists and engineers, but to create partnerships for the businesses of tomorrow.”


Attendees learned about the many opportunities for partnering with NIST from Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May, who explained the importance of collaboration to NIST’s world-class research. NIST collaborates with a number of organizations and institutions of higher learning as it addresses national priorities including cybersecurity, manufacturing, communications, forensics, disaster resilience and healthcare and bioscience. “Last year, we provided about $200 million in grants to institutions of higher education that can collaborate with us and assist us in carrying out our mission,” said May.


May highlighted the variety of opportunities at NIST for undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral, associate and visiting researchers. Of NIST’s approximately 1,600 associate researchers who come from academia, about one quarter are from Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or Minority Serving Institutes (MSIs).


The event was initiated by George Cooper, director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), who said he realized there was great potential at NIST for supporting partnerships between HBCUs and the federal government.


Day two’s agenda focused on moving research and technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace. Participants learned about the federal government’s role in technology transfer and the Lab-to-Market Programs in NIST’s Technology Partnerships Office and the MBDA’s San Francisco Business Center. A panel discussion including representatives from industry and non-profit and advocacy groups that support emerging businesses offered best practices for getting from lab to market.


Throughout the event, participants were encouraged to develop relationships not only with NIST and the MBDA, but also with one another. As Cooper put it, their partnerships could “leverage the strengths of multiple institutions” to increase engagement with federal agencies.




Regards,

Otmane El Rhazi

Department of Commerce

Economic Development

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

Handicap : semaine pour l'emploi du 17 au 23 novembre 2014

La 18e semaine pour l'emploi des personnes handicapées se tient du lundi 17 au dimanche 23 novembre 2014. Avec de nombreuses actions organisées en France, l'objectif est de favoriser la rencontre entre personnes handicapées, recruteurs et organismes qui agissent en faveur de l'insertion.

Le programme des manifestations est accessible en ligne sur différents sites :

« forums pour l'emploi », « jobdating » ou encore « handicafés » réunissant des entreprises et des candidats en recherche d'emploi,

web-TV (...)

Cordialement,

Otmane El Rhazi

Service Public

Administration & Economy

Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320