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Greenville: Past, Present and Future

Posted by: Hank Hyatt on Friday, May 9, 2014
Greenville finds itself in a very unique position. We continue to receive accolades for the visionary decisions made by community leaders in the past and we are recognized as a community that is currently making the right decisions to accelerate our growth into the foreseeable future.  We have recently hosted two groups from completely different parts of the globe, visits that typify the dual focus on the past/future of Greenville.  During the week of April 21st, Greenville Chamber staff worked with delegations from Middletown, Ohio and Malaysia as the Chamber continues its work to build one of the world’s premier business communities. Middletown, Ohio is a smaller town, located between Dayton and Cincinnati, dominated by the manufacturing and health care sectors. It is a community that has underutilized resources in its central core including a key riverfront area.  Finding the best use for their assets was the primary theme of their visit. Greenville leaders had the foresight to see beyond current uses (or lack thereof) for many of our downtown sites and buildings.  Given political will, financial resources and the support of the local business community, the “best use” has been brought to bear in most cases. This week’s ribbon cutting for One City Plaza is a prime example of City leadership, in partnership with the private sector, having the vision to reclaim a public area that had frankly been underutilized for many years. In fact, it was noted at the event, that the ribbon cutting was the culmination of seven years of hard work.  It takes time and patience to create something like Greenville’s “30-Year Overnight Success Story.” For a good overview of the Middletown visit, visit http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/local/revitalizing-downtown-will-take-time-money-commitm/nfhzB/ From the past to the future. Many foreign communities see Greenville as the hub of a region offering significant opportunities for economic partnerships.  Following the departure of our  Middletown guests, three officials from Malaysia were in Greenville to introduce Malaysia to our region’s business leadership and to explore possible projects which would enhance both of our economies. Malaysia views itself a bit like Ireland and Europe. Their smaller country of 30 million people is a gateway country into the larger East Asian market of 600 million.  As such, they are seeking American firms who would like to invest in their county to access that market. In addition to inbound investment, Malaysia is looking to invest in the U.S. in a variety of industries, including looking for joint ventures to support a growing Malaysian packaged foods sector. Much akin to our own region, Malaysia understands the need to invest in their own people through education and training programs. Forging new partnerships with foreign schools based in Malaysia as well as partnerships with schools external to their country are both strategies being pursued by Malaysian officials. Where the discussions head with Malaysia remains to be seen. It is interesting to note that Greenville, after having been on the European radar for so long, is now also coming onto the radar of smaller Southeast Asian countries as well. It’s a great time to be in Greenville. We are the beneficiaries of visionary leaders from the past. We are poised to strike new deals, forge new partnership and create opportunities for the future.  If we can make the best use of time, talent and treasure in the present, we can certainly accelerate our growth moving forward. Photo info: Lee Yong Ming, Director, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) Reena Kenny, MIDA Muhd Zakaria, Trade Commissioner, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) Mayor Knox White, City of Greenville Me, Hank Hyatt, Greenville Chamber

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