Many communities across the United States actively recruit foreign direct investment (FDI) and encourage businesses to export. State, regional, and local economic development organizations (EDOs) differ widely in their approach to supporting both FDI and exports. The International Engagement Ready Communities (IERC) initiative seeks to learn from research about the factors that influence firms in making FDI or export investment decisions with case examples of effective community- or state-based policies and practices to promote these activities. The IERC initiative will help communities become competitive in world markets by synthesizing the necessary steps into a roadmap to attract FDI, boost exports, and develop relationships with the international business community.


The Research Team

The State International Development Organizations, Inc. (SIDO) is the premiere U.S. organization dedicated to supporting state international trade agencies and focuses exclusively on state international trade development. Through a close partnership with The Council of State Governments (CSG), SIDO members contribute specialized expertise, information and resources to support the overall goal of promoting state international trade programs.


Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) helps regions compete by providing federal, state, and local policy-makers with the information and technical assistance they need to formulate and execute innovative, regional, job-creating economic strategies.


SRI International Center for Innovation Strategy and Policy (CISP) helps organizations, regions, and countries achieve long-term economic and social impact through effective investments in science, technology, and innovation.


Stone & Associates (S&A) helps clients tackle complex challenges, where deep dive external research is critical for effective strategy development related to manufacturing, international sales, and competitive market assessments.

Federal Partners

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) seeks to “lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.” As part of that mission, EDA has a direct interest in supporting regions across the U.S. as they engage the international economy.


International Trade Administration (ITA) strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements.



SelectUSA is the only federal-level program dedicated to facilitating and promoting business investment in the United States. Housed within the ITA at the U.S. Department of Commerce, SelectUSA also raises awareness of the critical role that foreign direct investment plays in the U.S. economy. Since inception, SelectUSA has facilitated more than $30 billion in client-verified investment.

SelectUSA works with foreign firms seeking to expand to the United States and works with economic development organizations seeking to attract business investment. SelectUSA services include:

  • providing information and counseling to firms and EDOs;
  • providing platforms to directly connect foreign firms and EDOs;
  • helping foreign firms and EDOs understand and demystify federal rules and regulations;
  • and provide investment project advocacy support to EDOs.

Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), an interagency committee chaired by the Secretary of Commerce, provides a unifying framework and strategic plan for coordinating U.S. government-wide export promotion and export financing activities.

The original project, comprised of the background empirical research and website creation, was funded by a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, award ED17HDQ3120097. The follow-on project, Enhancing State and Local EDO Engagement to Support COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency (Award Number ED21HDQ3070060), provided for the website update, as well as education and technical assistance on the application of the website by Economic Development Districts and other regional economic development entities. In both cases, the statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.