Boone County Seeks Further Collaboration With Japan Trip

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Molly Whitehead (far right) says the trip included visits with businesses that have a presence in Boone County. (photo courtesy of the Boone EDC) Molly Whitehead (far right) says the trip included visits with businesses that have a presence in Boone County. (photo courtesy of the Boone EDC)

The executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp. says a recent trip to Japan aimed to build relationships with businesses that have established a presence in the county. Molly Whitehead says prior to this spring, only three Japanese companies had a location in Boone County and since that time, three more have set up shop. Whitehead says she and Boone County Council member Elise Nieshalla took the trip to formally express their appreciation to and generate greater communication with company executives.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Whitehead said Japanese companies tend to do business differently than many others.

"They value, more so than anybody else it seems, that long-term relationship with the community itself," said Whitehead. "They want to get to know you. They want to understand who you are as individuals and who you are as a community. They typically take a little bit longer to make decisions. They like to have a lot of information at their disposal and by far, Japanese businesses, when they make an investment in a community, they typically stay for a really long time and that's of great value to us."

Whitehead says they learned more about where the existing Japaneses businesses in Boone County will be going in the future and she hopes to continue to nurture those relationships. She says it will involve more communication that the organization has ever done before.

In addition to visiting with businesses in Japan, the delegation had an opportunity to meet with officials from Indiana's sister-state, Tochigi Prefecture. Whitehead says Boone County is the only community in the state of Indiana that has an investment from Tochigi Prefecture, that being from Fukai Manufacturing Co. Ltd., half of a joint venture known as Fukai Toyotetsu Indiana Corp., which has a presence in Jamestown.

"We talked a lot about educational opportunities, cultural opportunities to build awareness and relationships with Tochigi Prefecture, perhaps with our counterparts over there," said Whitehead. "I believe that relationship was further solidified during this visit and I look forward to seeing what opportunities may exist for Boone County to kind of expand its borders in that direction as well."

You can read more about the trip from Whitehead by clicking here.

Whitehead says Japanese companies tend to do business differently than many others.
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