When most people think about the Midwest in America, they think of it as the breadbasket of the country, picturing it as a rich and fertile land that has been producing cereals for more than 300 hundred years. Yosef Meystel knows that for most Americans it is difficult to picture that the 12 states that compose the Midwest are able (and willing) to diversify their economies, producing goods different to wheat, corn or oats. The reason to this is that these rich lands are not as popular as those located on each coast of the country and their budgets are not as impressive.
In terms of having global economies, different leaders and politicians in the Midwest have decided to open their territories to investors and business partners in Israel. This initiative has boost incredible economic –and new- collaborations between the Midwest region and the State of Israel. It is no secret that the Jewish states are well known for its numerous startups and highly innovative enterprises. These collaborations have helped the Midwest states diversifying their economies and creating strong commercial bonds with different Jewish companies.
However, this process of creating new collaborations between Israel and the American Midwest has not been a piece of cake. The most difficult challenge for the heartland of America has been to create awareness since most people in the world do not even know where these 12 states are located. This process of creating awareness has already taken a few years and thanks to the collective efforts of different governors, politicians and businessmen so far the process has been a successful one.
In order to create awareness, different states have implemented different strategies, sending delegations of state officials to Israel, working only on potential business transactions between companies in the Midwest and those coming from Israel. These visits have focused on increasing exports and imports, strengthening partnerships, and engaging new high-tech foreign investment to the heartland of America.
Some states have been more aggressive in terms of creating awareness and commercial bonds with Israel. Such is the case of Missouri, which has launched the Global STL program, aiming to bring Israeli companies to Midwestern land. Through this program, companies are invited to settle their offices at St. Louis, establishing their presence at the heart of America.
The Midwest as a Technological Hub
The Midwest is rarely recognized for its potential as a technological hub. Most people believe that the farming states located in this region are unlikely to be home to important high-tech companies. This is why it is hard to believe that the state of Israel can be actually interested in investing in companies located in the heartland of America. Instead, companies in the Midwest are the ones called to use Israeli technology to run their businesses.
However, opposite to what most individuals may believe, almost every single one of the 12 states located in the Midwest are recognized for being leaders in certain innovative industries. Such is the case of Indiana, recognized for its advances in cyber-security; or Michigan with is innovations in the automotive industry; or Kansas, recognized for its commitment to the aerospace industry.
Numbers do not lie when they show us the multimillionaire business transactions held for the import and export of thousands of goods between the Midwest states to the great Jewish nation. Most of these goods come from manufacturing hubs of nano-scaled materials used for technological applications.
At the heart of America
The Midwest can be appealing to Israeli businesses due to its friendliness and willingness to help companies and startups. Some Midwestern states have more tax incentives than those located on each coast of the country. This may help Israeli companies land in the United States and settle without complications.
Thanks to its privileged location, most states in the Midwest offer Israeli companies the chance to transport their goods through the Mississippi and Missouri river. Also, the land may be cheaper and catching a flight to travel to any other place in the United States can be rather fast and easy since the Midwest is literally at the center of the country.
Kansas has become an important reference to Israeli business in the past years thanks to the friendliness of its people, its tax incentives to business and the easiness to establish new companies there. Just Kansas exported over around $75 million worth of goods to Israel in 2015 and imported as much as $80 million in goods from the Jewish state in the same year. Having a well-educated population that is willing to work and a privileged location in the country has helped Kansas become one of the most appealing states for Israeli companies to settle and open their doors to the American market located in the Midwest.