Business Development Talk with Deb Scherer

Columbus, Ohio (Sean Pavone)

Deb Scherer, Managing Director Of Global Trade and Investment for One Columbus.  As managing director of global trade and investment, Deb works to identify foreign-owned companies with interests to expand in the United States, and helps them evaluate the advantages of why the Columbus Region is a location of choice for a U.S. facility.   She also helps Columbus Region-based companies connect with training and resources that will help them sell abroad.

What is the Columbus Region? 

The Columbus Region—a thriving 11-county area in Central Ohio—is home to 2.2 million people, contributes nearly 115 billion in GDP and is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the Midwest.

Since 2010, the Region has led the Midwest’s largest metros in job, population and GDP growth. 

Home of the world’s most recognizable brands—Scotts, Express, JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide, Abercrombie & Fitch—innovative small businesses and powerhouse research and academic institutions, the Region has experienced strong economic growth, ensuring a vibrant future for people and companies of Central Ohio.

Deb Scherer (Courtesy)

How much economic activity is there between the Columbus Region and Israel?

Israel was Ohio’s 20th largest export market for Ohio products in 2019. Ohio firms exported $218.7 million worth of products to Israel, and Ohio imports from Israel totaled $155.1 million in 2019.

According to the Ohio International Corporate Investment in Ohio Report, 11 Israeli companies call Ohio home with nearly 800 employees.

The Jewish community in Columbus is growing too. The number of Jews living in central Ohio has increased from 22,000 living more than a decade ago to 28,500 living now. Our community partners provide an active and vibrant Jewish life: two Jewish Day Schools, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus, Wexner Heritage Village, Jewish Family Services, OSU Hillel and nine synagogues (3 Orthodox, 2 Conservative, 3 Reform, 1 Reconstructionist). 

The entire Jewish community has benefited from world class Jewish leaders and philanthropic families including the Meltons, Schottensteins and Wexners. In many ways, Columbus continues to be a significant seat of adult Jewish learning and Jewish leadership development throughout the entire Jewish world.

How would you describe the activity of Israeli companies in the Columbus Region?  How many Israeli companies are in the region?  What are they doing there? 

Over the years, there has been a growing interest of Israeli companies interested in the Columbus Region.   We have had the opportunity to engage with multiple innovative companies from various industries looking at doing more in the US.  A few that have ultimately settled here include:

POCARED Diagnostics works to develop advanced infectious diseases diagnostic technologies, with the purpose of optimizing antibiotic stewardship, patient care and laboratory efficiency. The Rehovot, Israel-based company has its U.S. headquarters in Columbus, OH.

NICE inContact, a leader in cloud contact center software, is a division of Ra’anana, Israel-based NICE. The parent company acquired inContact in 2016 and rebranded to NICE inContact shortly after. This acquisition included the existing inContact office in Columbus, which currently employees 60 people.

Jifiti is an e-commerce company providing cutting-edge design & technology with state-of-the-art fintech infrastructure. The company relocated its headquarters from Israel to Columbus in 2012, but still maintains operations in Israel. Co-Founder and CEO Yaacov Martin cited Columbus’ strong retail ecosystem as the top reason for their relocation.

What makes Columbus an attractive location for Israeli companies? 

The youthful, progressive nature found in Central Ohio is matched by the stability of a diverse economic base. With no single industry representing more than 18 percent of overall employment, the Columbus Region offers a secure environment for growth.

Israeli companies also find the growing innovative landscape in the Columbus Region attractive.  Ranked as one of the top US cities for tech workers and the number one city for startups, Israeli companies find the collaborative business nature here attractive.  It’s a place where you can meet with the CEO of a potential client or easily network to meet your next customer.   

About the Author
Joseph Sherman has worked with companies including Altriga, Isaac Mostovicz - Marketing Solutions, and Vimtag Technology.  He graduated from The University of California, San Diego and KEDGE Business School, a Grande Ecole de Commerce et de Management.  
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