Welcome, y’all! That’s how the state of Mississippi, appropriately known as the “Hospitality State,” and its leadership greet foreign direct investment (FDI). Mississippi has translated this sentiment perfectly across all languages with simple words every decision maker understands: customized incentives, shovel-ready sites, qualified workforce and speed to market.
“Mississippi’s welcome mat is always out so global companies can rest assured they will be met with a business-friendly environment that enables them to get to work quickly and get products to market in a timely manner,” said Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Deputy Executive Director Laura Hipp. “Our competitive advantages are second to none and have positioned many of our global partners for many more years of growth and success.”
Some of the most well-known international companies have built upon their long legacies of success by locating in Mississippi. Toyota, Nissan, Calbee, Continental, Israel Aerospace Industries and countless others have found their ideal locations in the Magnolia State, which conveniently is located “halfway to everywhere.” These companies continue to invest in their operations and create thousands of jobs since discovering Mississippi’s pro-business environment. In fact, more than 45,500 workers throughout the state are depended upon by these global leaders to produce some of the most high-tech products found anywhere in the world.
A result of this hospitable environment, these industry leaders have supported efforts to recruit fresh FDI to the state. Nissan and Toyota have both brought extensive supplier networks to Mississippi to support their substantial vehicle assembly operations.
Building ties on a global scale is essential to attracting foreign investments, and one way Mississippi does this is by tailoring incentives to fit each company’s needs. The state’s newest addition to its robust incentives portfolio, the Mississippi Flexible Tax Incentive – or MFLEX – plan, offers companies flexibility with taxes and incentives by providing a streamlined universal tax credit that may be used to offset a company’s Mississippi state tax liabilities. Foreign companies also embrace MFLEX’s simplicity, which eliminates the need for multiple applications with a single application, and it provides greater clarity to companies and stakeholders regarding the value of credits granted.
Site To Success
Recognizing that the key to a foreign company’s success is to move as rapidly as possible from planning to production, Mississippi is investing significantly in the creation of shovel-ready sites. The state already has committed more than $56.7 million to site development at industrial parks this year. These investments help ensure all due diligence is done and dirt is ready to turn as soon as the company picks its ideal location.
Terberg Taylor Americas Group is constructing a specialty hauling vehicle facility as a joint venture between Taylor Group of Companies of Louisville, Mississippi, and Royal Terberg Group of the Netherlands. The company chose a ready site near Columbus, Mississippi, that allowed it to quickly break ground and subsequently start construction in record time.
The state also takes a proactive stance when it comes to workforce development by partnering with its community colleges and universities to provide top-notch, customized training so workers are ready to take on specific jobs.
Partnering with higher education programs to better the workforce resonates well with international businesses. Companies doing business in Mississippi have access to talent from eight universities, a research consortium composed of four universities and 15 community colleges, which together create an ecosystem that positions them for success now and well into the future.
New Zealand-based Rocket Lab, which announced in September it would locate a rocket engine test facility at NASA’s Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, noted Mississippi’s legacy in aerospace and skilled workforce were the boost needed for the development of its rocket Neutron. The rocket will carry out national security missions and deliver multiple satellites to space.
“Our dedicated workforce
makes the term ‘Made in Mississippi’ a stamp of quality in global markets and even in space.”
— Laura Hipp, Deputy Executive Director, MDA
“Our dedicated workforce makes the term ‘Made in Mississippi’ a stamp of quality in global markets and even in space,” said Hipp. “Our roster of international leaders that are already located in Mississippi, as well as those that are currently considering opening operations in our state, is easily one of the greatest testaments to the fact that Mississippians are incredibly talented, and their strong work ethic is displayed in each and every product they make.”
Ease To Markets
The state’s geographic position is another strong selling point for most companies making location decisions. Nissan, which has invested $4 billion in its Canton operations over the last 20 years, recently announced a $500 million investment to partially convert the sprawling facility to begin production of two all-new, all-electric vehicles for its Nissan and Infiniti brands. Mississippi’s transportation network will enable the automotive giant to quickly deliver the EVs to markets around the U.S. and the world.
Mississippi knows speed to market is necessary when companies are looking to locate or expand operations. The state’s integrated transportation system, in addition to its prime location in the Southeast, makes it an obvious choice for foreign manufacturing. Six interstates; 14 U.S. highways; three navigable waterways; 15 deepwater ports, including two on the Gulf of Mexico; five Class-1 railroads; and seven commercial airports give foreign manufacturers, like Nissan, efficient and timely access to domestic and international markets.
“The world is increasingly setting its sights on Mississippi. We know what it takes to help companies achieve lasting success, and we have the resources and experts in place to help them hit the ground running from day one,” said Hipp.