Waterford, Michigan -- A business development team from Oakland County and from Oakland University's business incubator, OU INC, are leaving Tuesday for a 10-day trade mission to Japan in hopes of attracting automotive and medical device companies to the county.
Japan is an important market for Oakland County. More than 230 Japanese-owned firms have business locations here - more than many Midwestern states. The team has visits scheduled with more than 20 companies that have a strong presence in Oakland County and have made significant investment here.
"We have more than 900 firms from 38 countries and the largest concentration is from Japan," County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "Japanese companies represent 35 percent of Oakland County's original equipment manufacturer part suppliers. We want to thank these companies for placing their faith and their investments in Oakland County and encourage others to consider us for future expansions."
The team, which is led by Irene Spanos, director of Oakland County's Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, will be visiting companies and universities in Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya. She will be accompanied by Alan Weber, a senior business development representative for the county, and Amy Butler, the director of OU INC.
They will attend the MEDTEC Japan trade show, which features more than 700 medical device exhibitors. Meetings are also planned with Shiga Medical College, Ritsumeikan University - Biwako Campus and the Nagahama Institute of Bioscience during which the county's Medical Main Street initiative and its November's INNO-VENTION 2013 conference will be discussed.
"We are meeting with these universities to explore collaborative research opportunities with Oakland University," Spanos said. "With the support of our current Japanese companies, we see tremendous opportunity for more collaboration in automotive and the life sciences industry. We have an excellent business case for those Japanese companies interested in expanding into the United States and great reasons why Oakland County is the most strategic location."