A select group of 20 to 30 companies from Poland will compete next month to set up operations in Nevada.
“We’re looking for companies that fit well into the ecosystem that we have here and can succeed and stay here,” said Jarad Van Wagoner, director of international trade with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
The goal of the program — which does not yet have a formal name — is to spur foreign direct investment and create high-wage jobs.
After agencies within Poland select the companies that will compete. The companies will go through a weeklong learning session about the Nevada market and prepare presentations to be shared with partners of the economic development office.
Van Wagoner said partnerships will grow over time, but so far partners include co-working spaces, chambers of commerce, the Nevada Small Business Development Center, UNLV and the University of Nevada, Reno.
These local partners will identify which companies they feel they can help succeed.
Then the top companies will visit Nevada for a two-week period — one week in Northern Nevada and one week in Southern Nevada — and ultimately work with their new local network to set up operations in the state.
“We’re recruiting scale-ups, companies that have had success in their home market and ready to get into an international market,” Van Wagoner said. “We aren’t looking for companies to set up a restaurant here. We are looking for companies to come in with a product or service that they want to sell to the rest of the U.S. market and complement our strengths.”
Those strengths include water technology, advanced manufacturing and programming, Van Wagoner said.
Programming companies can complement gambling companies and video game developers, he said.
Three more groups of Polish companies will go through the program later this year, Van Wagoner said. He hopes Poland will be the first of many countries to partner with the state.
The economic development office will recruit companies through a government partner in some countires and recruit companies directly in other countries, depending on the relationship between government and business.
“We’ve already had interest expressed from five or six others, including Finland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Australia,” he said.