Illinois has much to offer the world.

The challenge for the state is to make sure that the world knows more about Illinois, said Erik Brejla, head of strategic partnerships, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Brejla spoke to the IAR Global Task Force at the June Business Meetings in Springfield on June 16, 2015.

The department recently studied the state’s approach to trade and investment promotion. The results were startling, he said.

“It was very ad hoc,” he said of the strategy. “It really seemed like a huge loss of opportunity.”

The state surveyed foreign representatives in the state, and found many misconceptions. Respondents said challenges included high taxes, a weak university system and a lack of talent.

For DCEO, the challenge is to tell the story that highlights the state’s strengths that make it attractive and competitive.

“The good news is that there is a lot to sell,” he said.
Among Illinois’ attributes:

  • A highly skilled workforce
  • Investor-friendly environment
  • Strategic location and infrastructure.
  • Diverse and growing economy.
  • Successful multinational corporations already operate there.