Our coastal counterparts sometimes describe Iowa and other states in the Midwest as “flyover country.”
The underlying meaning of the phrase gives favor to the glitz, glamour, hustle and bustle of the United
States’ more well-known East and West Coasts.
But the reality is, America’s Heartland offers equal if not more opportunity for international business.
Roughly 4,300 miles (or 7,000 km) separate Europe from Iowa, and on the surface, the two locations
may seem dissimilar. But there are many shared ideals when it comes to business — an unwavering
dedication to innovation, a strong commitment to collaboration and an understanding of the value of
renewable resources, just to name a few.
Beyond our shared foundational beliefs, Iowa offers tangible benefits that have consistently yielded
dividends for our business partners. Plentiful resources, a business-friendly environment and low cost of
doing business have not only bolstered the state’s economy, but supported the growth of Europe-based
companies doing business in our state as well.
If you’ve never considered Iowa as a hub or outpost for your business, hopefully this article will give you
a better sense of what the state has to offer and who we are. Eventually, we hope you’ll fly over to see it
for yourself. But for the time being, allow us to elaborate on why many European companies have
already found success through their hubs in America’s Heartland.
Playing to our strengths
Iowa’s international reputation is largely rooted in the state’s plentiful renewable resources and
rightfully so — agriculture is at the core of who we are. And as the world of agriculture evolves and
intertwines with various other industries, Iowa remains deeply committed to cultivating an environment
primed for our partners’ needs. Global companies, such as BASF, OCI, DSM, Ajinomoto and CJ Bio,
already have leveraged Iowa’s biomaterials to efficiently produce ethanol, biodiesel, pharmaceutical
materials, plastics, animal feed, fertilizer and much more.
Though not an exhaustive list, these companies represent a handful of industry heavyweights that have
effectively combined Iowa’s resources, stable workforce and business-friendly regulatory environment
with innovation. And, with Iowa’s intimate familiarity with the complete supply chain — from raw
ingredients to finished goods and byproducts — the state is well-positioned as a destination for
companies to manage their process from ideation to production.
Considering the growing need for clean energy, Iowa placed a strong focus on wind energy before its
popularity soared to current heights. Forward-thinking policy, augmented by Iowa’s business-friendly
approach, resulted in Iowa generating more electricity from wind than any other U.S. state. It’s a
primary reason why companies, such as
as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, have chosen Iowa for energy-
intensive, yet green, facilities.
European Business Magazine – 4-page Editorial Feature running 3/10
1,000 words + photos
Due to publication 2/20
In short, if low-cost, reliable, renewable energy is important to your company, Iowa is the location for
your next expansion.
Pushing the boundaries
For all you may hear about the value of Iowa’s renewable resources, what you may not know is that the
state’s No. 1 business sector is advanced manufacturing. Iowa produces everything from heavy-duty
construction equipment and aerospace components to micro-plastics used in medical devices and much
more. More than 6,000 manufacturers are an important part of Iowa’s diverse economy and many play an
important role in the global marketplace — 88 percent of Iowa’s exports are manufactured goods.
Not content to rest on our collective laurels in this arena, organizations across the state, such as Iowa’s
Economic Development Authority (IEDA), have heavily invested in new advancements, including additive
manufacturing technologies designed to improve production of critical metal and rapid prototyping
polymers. Investments also have been allocated to a manufacturing network that includes some of the
biggest and fastest tools available for 3D printing of fused metal prototypes — technology that’s proven
advantageous for companies like John Deere and others.
A concerted effort
The inroads European companies have made into Iowa is no accident. Our shared success is the result of
more than 40 years of a concerted and collaborative effort jointly spearheaded by Iowa’s business
community, state government and our affiliates across the pond.
Iowa is committed to growing its existing European partnerships and forging new alliances as well. And
even though the state’s natural resources, infrastructure and regulatory environment may be intriguing,
it’s incumbent on us to ensure we are ready and well-equipped to meet any challenges that come
Toward that end, IEDA’s International Trade Office (ITO) regularly organizes trade missions to engage
with potential international customers and provide ongoing training and marketing support to help
Iowa-based companies work more effectively with international audiences.
Furthermore, financial incentives, such as Iowa’s Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit (which
incentivizes companies that produce renewable chemicals in Iowa by offering up to $1 million annually),
are signs that our state government is actively fostering an environment designed to help businesses
We’re excited about all Iowa has to offer and think you’ll agree it’s the furthest thing from a “flyover”
state. If ever you’d like to discuss opportunities in Iowa in further detail, please feel free to visit or
contact our Western European office in Frankfurt. Iowa representatives also will be attending the World
Bio Markets conference in Amsterdam (1-3 April, 2019) and K 2019 in Dusseldorf (16-23 October, 2019).
In the meantime, visit https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com