Indiana’s emerging profile as a global business center is getting a boost. After more than a year of effort, organizers have received final license from the New York-based World Trade Centers Association to establish a World Trade Center in Indianapolis. "World Trade Center Indianapolis is going to be a conduit to the world for trade, trade services in particular," said former Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler, who is serving as president of WTC Indianapolis. "We look to help small and mid-sized companies who want to be in international trade, but don’t necessarily know where to turn." Indiana has been the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the nation without a World Trade Center.
In a Studio(i) interview, Sadler talked about priorities for WTC Indianapolis, including a high profile headquarters, potentially in downtown Indy.
While licensing procedures required Indianapolis to be in the new center’s name, Sadler emphasized it is a statewide organization. "We’re already working with companies all over the state, and are excited to be representing everyone in the state of Indiana," said Sadler.
Sadler also said the organization is in the "very, very early stages" of market research for a headquarters building, potentially a high-rise in downtown Indianapolis. "We’d like it to be in downtown Indianapolis, but we’re open to other ideas," said Sadler. "We’re thinking in terms of a mixed-use development where companies that have connections to trade will want to come and use as a hub."
Growing the state’s global economic profile and "connecting Indiana to the world" is a stated priority for Governor Eric Holcomb, who is currently on a trade trip to Canada, the fourth of his administration. He led previous delegations to Europe, India and Japan.
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger says the center will be an asset for the state. "As we work to take Indiana to the world and bring the world back to Indiana, these resources and partnerships will be key," said Schellinger, in a news release from WTC Indianapolis. "The power of their international network is something we intend to put to good use."
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called the World Trade Center designation a welcome addition to the city. "Our workforce continues to evolve and access to a global trade network through the new World Trade Center will increase our ability to connect with international partners to grow our economy."
Efforts to land a World Trade Center were launched in January, 2017 by former Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who serves as chairman, Sadler, and former Indiana Office of Management and Budget executive Travis Spotts, who serves as executive director.
Those efforts received a boost earlier this year with a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indy organization and the World Trade Center-Harbin, China, which Sadler says holds promise for sectors like agriculture, agtech and water resource management.
In a Perspectives piece for www.InsideINdianaBusiness.com, Zoeller wrote that a World Trade Center is "an essential tool for our state’s economic future," opening Hoosier companies to new markets and capital essential for growth.
Zoeller says international trade in Indiana accounts for more than 80,000 jobs, about 20 percent of the state’s total employment, in fast-growing sectors like the life sciences, agbiosciences and aerospace.
It is estimated that from 2010-2015, the value of Hoosier exports increased by more than $7.5 billion, 15th highest in the United States.
Headquartered in New York City, the World Trade Centers Association was founded in 1969 and includes a network of more than 300 business and organizations in nearly 100 countries.