Why Richmond, VA is a Hotspot for Doing Business in the U.S.

New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Silicon Valley… Many places come to mind when choosing a location to set up business in the U.S. But you’d be missing out on great opportunities would you restrict yourself to this list… One of these gems is Richmond, Virginia: a vibrant and growing community of nearly 1.3 million people, home to 8 Fortune 500 headquarters. Located just south of Washington DC, it ranks 2nd for total number of firms and has many other advantages beyond its ideal location…

The Greater Richmond Partnership

GRP Logo

During their recent tour of France, we had the pleasure of meeting the great team from The Greater Richmond Partnership Inc. (GRP). The GRP is the leading regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond. They serve as a single point of contact for the network of private sector and state and local government professionals. They assist companies through the process of developing in Richmond and its surroundings by preparing custom research based on the firm’s parameters and data requirements, including information on labor, transportation, taxes, government regulations, and available incentives.

Thanks to their support, the process of developing in the Richmond area is made simpler. Once a prospection visit to the area is confirmed, a staff member creates a structured itinerary that includes a community overview, travels to available sites and buildings, and scheduled meetings with suppliers and professional service providers. They also offer “Peer to Peer” meetings with local business leaders to obtain insights into conducting business in the area.

They also provide companies with their Global Assistance Program as Barry Matherly, the President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership tells us: “Navigating an unfamiliar set of legal, monetary and other systems can be intimidating and it is easy to fall into any number of pitfalls without the proper knowledge. That’s why we established a Global Assistance Program to help provide a soft-landing for international firms.”

If you want more information don’t hesitate to contact Bethany Miller, Vice President of Business Development, by calling 804-643-3227 or emailing her at bmiller@grpva.com.

Richmond and its Surroundings

Demographics & Location

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Located on the East coast of the Unites States, it is only one hour and fifty minutes driving away from Washington D.C. The location of the city is definitely an asset as Matherly tells us: “One of the best reasons to choose Richmond as a business destination is our strategic location to the majority of the U.S. population within a days’ drive”. It includes a world-class transportation system including four interstates, two international airports and one of the nation’s largest sea ports. Its proximity allows businesses to access 45% of the U.S. population within one-day’s drive.

Richmond is not a small city. Ranked as the nation’s 45th largest metropolitan area in 2016, it has now a population of 1.3 million people. Its millennial population, the 25-to-34 segment, increased by 15% from 2010 to 2015, as reported by Time magazine in June 2017.

A Healthy, Diverse Economy

Richmond has a great combination of resource diversity and advantages, making it an ideal location for many industries (supply chain management, advanced manufacturing, data centers, Health and life science, corporate headquarters…). Since it isn’t dependent on a single industry, you’ll find that the city hosts a very diverse ecosystem of companies, including 8 Fortune 500 headquarters located there (ranking 13th over 100).

With a lower than average and stable corporate tax of 6% (which hasn’t changed since 1972), electricity rates 30% below the national average, unionization and unemployment insurance among the lowest in the U.S, Richmond has a stable and healthy economy from which companies can benefit on the long run.

An Educated & Growing Workforce

Richmond boasts a highly-educated and talented workforce, with 60% of working adults having college experience. This might be related to the fact that 7 Richmond area High Schools are ranked in the Top 35 High Schools in Virginia, leading to higher rates of students going to university afterwards. Additionally, the Richmond Metro Area counts 30 Universities, many of which offer programs to stimulate entrepreneurship amongst their students like the VCU’s Venture Creation University, or Virginia Union University Center for Small Business Development.

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Incentives Programs

The state of Virginia and the Richmond area are one of the best pro-business area in the United States thanks to the many incentives put in place for new and existing companies. Incentives include financial assistance, infrastructure development grants, tax credits and exemptions, customized training and technical support programs. You can learn more about Richmond’s Incentives Program here.

Quality of Life

According to the center for Community and Economic Research Cost of Living Index in 2017, Richmond’s cost of living was 5% below the national average. This is not the only reason why Richmond’s quality of life is valuable. With a climate encompassing the 4 seasons, and a 400 years old history, Richmond has a wealth of cultural and artistic amenities giving the area a cosmopolitan flair to benefit from.

Doing Business in Richmond

Why should you choose Richmond as a location for your future company to expand? Ippon Technologies, a Paris-based technology consulting firm which recently settled in Richmond, gave us insights on their decision making process: “Virginia is business friendly from a tax standpoint in helping businesses,” explained Romain Lhéritier, the Managing Director of Ippon USA in Richmond. “Our target market is the East Coast, and when you look at Richmond on the map, it’s pretty central. So, all these were the business reasons to do things here.” As Romain mentioned, Virginia is business friendly, with a low cost of doing business. Barry Matherly also tells us that “Virginia is one of the best states to do business and it’s due to our convenient tax and legal structures.”

In addition, investment in the region is growing as Matherly points out: “Billions of dollars are being invested in the region.” This rise in investment is due to a few incoming projects: “The Richmond Region is finding momentum from investments in the Richmond Marine Terminal, speculative building construction, as well as Facebook’s plan for a $1 billion data center. We’re very proud that Richmond has been selected as the top mid-sized U.S. city for foreign direct investment by FDI magazine.” Matherly continued.

“We’re very proud that Richmond has been selected as the top mid-sized U.S. city for foreign direct investment by FDI”

And if words aren’t enough, you can watch this video on the Greater Richmond’s attractivity, courtesy of the GRP!

After collaborating with the GRP on this article, we – for sure – will put this great part of American land on our map for our next Learning Expedition to the East Coast. For the rest, we hope to have inspired some of you to make the move to the U.S. through Richmond !


Author: Beeleev

Connecting Entrepreneurs

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