Governor Eric Holcomb says last week’s visit to Indianapolis by a delegation of representatives from Qatar builds on a solid foundation as Indiana continues to build a relationship with the Middle Eastern country. The governor says both sides are looking to increase business opportunities and cultural exchanges.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Holcomb said there are a number of aligned interests.
“Sports being one of them, believe it or not,” said Holcomb. “The emir, who I’ve met with and spoken with, as well as the ambassador and the foreign minister, they’re all sports fanatics. They know that we are, Hoosiers are, as well. They know about our ecosystem. But, sports medicine, sports tech, the whole sport industry, they’re looking to grow as well and we’re somewhat of experts on that front.”
Holcomb says agbioscience is another key interest between Indiana and Qatar. He says there have been several discussions on how Indiana could be helpful in addressing food insecurity for Qatar and vice-versa. Additionally, the two sides have had general discussions about the energy, advanced manufacturing and tech sectors.
The governor says the relationship between Indiana and Qatar creates multiple opportunities for Hoosier businesses.
“Obviously, they’re looking at, in Indiana, areas of our expertise in terms of our tech ecosystem, our growing small businesses and entrepreneurs, folks who are on the cutting edge of designing products that lead to a more efficient and a more safe and secure world, but also a way to do business,” he said. “So, we’re in active conversations about tech opportunities, about investments in that space. We’re in active conversations about sport opportunities. There’s a number of opportunities all centered around addressing challenges we and every nation around the world are facing.”
Looking ahead, Holcomb says the goals of both Indiana and Qatar center around helping one another usher in a more thriving business ecosystem and fostering more awareness about one of Indiana’s true international allies.
“First and foremost, we’re looking at how we help one another grow and grow opportunities, grow business but also, beyond that, how we can reach other parts of the world through one another,” said Holcomb. “And then, cultural exchanges…for instance, if you’ve got Notre Dame or Indiana University or Purdue University, they need that kind of research and development expertise just as much as we do. So, when you get Hoosier students learning and applying over there or you get Qatari residents over here in Indiana, that enables you to grow and hopefully prosper event that much faster.”
The governor said he also used last week’s visit to thank Qatar for its help in evacuating Americans and refugees from Afghanistan, some of whom were brought to Camp Atterbury.
“They were central in the success to so much of that effort,” said Holcomb. “This relationship is not being developed because of that, but it just so happened…and it was yet another opportunity for me to thank them.”
Holcomb says they found a number of aligned interests.