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Business in the Upstate has been globally influenced as far back as the 1700s, but now it’s more important than ever that global connection and competitiveness are top of mind.

As aerospace manufacturing moves South and our state works to recruit those companies, the Upstate’s existing bounty of manufacturing facilities and machine shops could become part of a hungry supply chain.*

The following opinion editorial by Upstate SC Alliance President & CEO John Lummus was published in the Sept. 5, 2016 edition of GSA Business Report

The recent announcement that Senator International in November will launch roundtrip cargo flights twice a week between GSP and Munich, Germany, heralds more opportunities than we can count at first glance.

General Electric, a 124-year-old company that employs 3,300 at its Greenville manufacturing facility, last year launched an ad campaign to position itself not as an industrial giant, but as a tech company.

This summer the Upstate SC Alliance joined a delegation visiting Belgium to explore how cultural connections can be leveraged into business relationships that enhance the Upstate’s global presence. 

The trip was organized by Greenville Sister Cities International in an effort to strengthen the bond between the sister cities of Kortrijk, Belgium and Greenville, South Carolina. The Upstate SC Alliance joined representatives from Upstate colleges, economic development organizations, government and business. The group met with Belgian business and economic development groups, government officials and agencies, and visited innovative sites. 

The visit was a strategic move to heighten global awareness and encourage region-to-region exchanges – both strategies encouraged by the Upstate SC Regional Export Plan, which launched in early 2015. To that end, we also capitalized on the chance to explore economic development opportunities in nearby Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium. In both parts of Belgium, we opened doors for global engagement and identified similar characteristics around which relationships can grow, while observing models that can serve as examples for the Upstate.

There was already at least one strong connection: a host of a Rotary Club luncheon we attended was a Greenville native whose father had owned the iconic Duke Sandwich Company. Throughout the visit, we learned a great deal of detailed information, and have many follow-up conversations to pursue, and want to share some highlights: 

Megaregions are a major focus of the America 2050 National Infrastructure Program, which acknowledges projected surges in population and explores passenger rail as an alternative to traditional highway infrastructure, according to Georgia Department of Transportation Rail Progra

In the wake of the Brexit (the United Kingdom vote to exit the European Union) and attacks in cities such as Paris and Nice, JP Morgan Chase Managing Director and Head Economist Jim Glassman says there’s a common perception that globalization is nearing its

In a panel discussion during the recent Global South Metro Exchange, coordinated by the Upstate SC Alliance to unite leaders from Atlanta, Charlotte and Charleston in conversations about global competitiveness, private industry representatives from businesses large and small emphasized the importance of free trade agreements to commercial successes.