Mentor City Manager Kenneth Filipiak talked a lot about business during his State of the City address Tuesday at LaMalfa Centre.
He discussed both how the city has attracted businesses and how it hopes to help them to grow.
As per the latter point, Filipiak announced an ambitious initiative called Mentor International.
The program has two goals, Filipiak explained. First, it would try to attract foreign companies that are interested in the midwest United States to consider developing in Mentor.
More importantly, it would help Mentor manufacturers penetrate the international market.
"It's frankly a scary process for local manufacturers," Filipiak said. "That's why we want to help."
To that end, the city plans to:
- hire a full-time economic development professional who will help manufacturers through the process
- set up an online directory that will assist Mentor businesses in international trade
- work with local colleges and universities to provide translators and expertise in foreign business and cultural practices
- get certain parts of Mentor designated as a Foreign Trade Zone. That way some manufacturers will have duty-free options on their products.
Filipiak noted that this program would not be for companies like STERIS that already have a global presence. Instead, the city hopes to glean experience from companies like STERIS and use it to help other manufacturers.
Filipiak said the city is gradually implementing pieces of the initiative and that they hope to have it off the ground by the end of the year.