This August 30th International House in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Global Ties US and the Palmetto Council for International Visitors will host the very first Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit on Economic Development and Entrepreneurship in Charlotte. The theme of the summit is aptly “Global Connectivity and how it Drives Local Economic Development and Entrepreneurship”. This summit is the culmination of work that has been done over the past six years to bring increasing numbers of business and entrepreneurship focused international delegations to Charlotte USA.
The Citizen Diplomacy Program at International House, working under the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for more than three decades as part of a ninety city Global Ties US network, has hosted the International Visitor Leadership Program along with other professional and youth exchanges. This program has welcomed more than five hundred current and former heads of State to communities around the country. Rising leaders in their respective fields are identified by U.S. Embassy staff in countries all over the world and are invited to participate in professional networking with their counterparts here in the U.S.
International House has hosted thousands of these visitors and has seen the benefits for the Charlotte region. Our community partners like the Charlotte Regional Partnership have hosted developers and bankers from Brazil, small business development experts from all over Latin America, along with entrepreneurs from Europe to name a few. This program is designed to build relationships and foster friendships with our global neighbors. Our visiting delegations get to learn about American life and culture, and our community benefits from the influx of cultural knowledge and diversity. The connections that are made through meeting with community partners like the Charlotte Regional Partnership open the eyes of our visitors to the great possibilities that Charlotte USA has to offer. Some of our visitors may have never heard of Charlotte before, and after a visit they will certainly see the myriad of possibilities for investment, collaboration and partnership.
In the past six years we have been welcoming an increasing number of business and entrepreneurship delegations from around the world. Charlotte has been growing at a rapid rate and so have our entrepreneurship and small business communities. Since 2014 we have welcomed entrepreneurs from across Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America and The Caribbean. These groups have been hosted by community partners like Packard Place, Ventureprise, Avid Exchange, Enventys, JCSU, UNCC, Queens University and more. Our Entrepreneurs spend between two and six weeks learning from Entrepreneurship and small business development gurus like Dan Roselli, Devin Collins, Louis Foreman and Chris Elmore. This year alone, we have already sent two local entrepreneurship leaders to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic through the Department of State for speaking and networking opportunities organized through the respective U.S. Embassies. It’s this sharing of knowledge and networking that is extremely beneficial for our region to expand into foreign markets and increase exports of local products and services.
The Summit taking place on Thursday August 30th will be a showcase of local talent. In welcoming to Charlotte members of our 90 city network, along with Department of State representatives and Washington DC partners, we are giving them a window into the global business hub that is our city and region. We want to host more and more international business and entrepreneur groups in our area and we are focused on promoting Charlotte USA to the world.
For the regional summit, we have invited members of Congress, the Governor, as well as state and local elected officials to speak. We will be having panel discussions and workshops with international businesses and government leaders covering the following topics:
• Economic Impact of the Latin American Community in the Carolinas
• How the Carolinas are Attracting Foreign Businesses
• Craft Breweries Impact on the Carolinas Economic Development
• Planes, Trains and Automobiles, All Aboard for Economic Development:
Featuring the Charlotte Airport, Intermodal and the I-77 Alliance
• The Power of Women Entrepreneurs in the Carolinas
• The Win-Win Impact of IVLP and Other Exchange Programs at Home and Abroad
During the summit we will be hosting a “Pitch Zone” where, in the style of speed dating, entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas to experts from Packard Place, Ventureprise, Start Charlotte and Enventys and get immediate feedback. We will also be raffling off 30 minutes of one on one time with business and community leaders.
Our local event partners include the Charlotte Regional Partnership, the City of Charlotte’s Office of Economic Development, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and UNCC’s Office of International Programs. Congresswoman Alma Adams is confirmed to give a welcome address along with other local elected officials. The Honorary Consuls of Japan, Germany, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Nicaragua and Mexico are confirmed to attend. We will also have representatives from six branches within the Department of State including Bureau Chiefs, Directors and Recruiters serving on panels and leading discussions.
We encourage community members to click the link below to register and attend. This is a unique opportunity to network and engage with local community, business and government leaders, as well as members of the Global Ties US network and representatives of the U.S. Department of State.
Citizen Diplomacy Program Director