New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Silicon Valley. Many places come to mind when prospecting a location to set up business in the United States (US). However, being restricted to a traditional destination may put great opportunities away. Richmond, Virginia, is a good example of this.

The vibrant and growing community of nearly 1.3 million people hosts 8 companies of the Fortune 500 list. Located on the East coast of the Unites States, Richmond has a strategic location, a world-class transportation system and a friendly tax system.

The Greater Richmond Partnership

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The Greater Richmond Partnership Inc. (GRP) is the leading regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond. It serves as a point of contact between the private sector and local state professionals.

GRP assists companies along the process of developing in Richmond. The organization prepares custom-made researches based on specific needs and data requirements. For example, information on the labor market, transportation, taxes, government regulations and available incentives.

Thanks to their support, the process of developing in the area is made simpler. Once a prospection visit to the area is confirmed, a staff member creates an itinerary including a community overview, visits to sites and buildings available, meetings with suppliers and service providers. “Peer to Peer” meetings with local business leaders are set up to exchange insights about conducting business in the area.

GRP provides companies with a Global Assistance Program. Barry Matherly, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, explains: “Navigating an unfamiliar set of legal, monetary and other systems can be intimidating and it is easy to fall into any number of pitfalls without the proper knowledge. That’s why we established a Global Assistance Program, to provide a soft-landing for international firms.”

For more information contact Bethany Miller, Vice President of Business Development, calling her at 804-643-3227 or emailing her at bmiller@grpva.com.

Richmond and its Surroundings

Demographics & Location

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Located on the East coast of the Unites States, Richmond is one hour and fifty minutes away from Washington D.C (by car). The location is definitely an asset.

“One of the biggest reasons to choose Richmond as a business destination is our strategic location to the majority of the U.S. population”, says Matherly. The city has a world-class transportation system including two international airports and one of the nation’s largest seaports. Companies can access 45% of the U.S. population within a one-day’s drive.

Richmond is not a small city. Ranked as the nation’s 45th largest metropolitan area in 2016, it has now a population of 1.3 million people. Its millennial population, aged from 25 to 34 years, increased by 15% from 2010 to 2015, reported Time magazine in June 2017.

A Healthy, Diverse Economy

Richmond has a great combination of resource diversity and advantages, making it an ideal location for many industries (supply chain management, advanced manufacturing, data centers, health and life science, corporate headquarter). The city hosts a very diverse ecosystem of companies, being the headquarter of 8 Fortune 500 companies.

With a lower than average and stable corporate tax of 6% (which hasn’t changed since 1972), electricity rates 30% below the national average. Unionization and unemployment insurance are among the lowest in the U.S. Richmond has a stable and healthy economy from which companies can benefit on the long run.

An Educated & Growing Workforce

The region has a highly-educated and talented workforce, with 60% of working adults having college experience. This might be related to the fact that 7 Richmond area High Schools are ranked in the Top 35 High Schools in Virginia, leading to higher rates of students going to university afterwards.

Additionally, the metropolitan area hosts 30 universities. Many of them offer programs to stimulate entrepreneurship amongst their students like, such as the VCU’s Venture Creation University or the Virginia Union University Center for Small Business Development.

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Incentives Programs

The state of Virginia and city of Richmond are one of the most pro-business areas in the United States, thanks to the many incentives put in place for new and existing companies.

Incentives include financial assistance, infrastructure development grants, tax credits and exemptions, customized training and technical support programs. You can learn more about Richmond’s Incentives Program here.

Quality of Life

According to the center for Community and Economic Research Cost of Living Index in 2017, Richmond’s cost of living was 5% below the national average. This is not the only reason why Richmond’s quality of life is valuable. With a 400 years-old history, Richmond has a wealth of cultural and artistic amenities giving the area a cosmopolitan flair to benefit from.

Doing Business in Richmond

Why should you choose Richmond as a location for your future company to expand? Ippon Technologies, a Paris-based technology consulting firm, recently settled in Richmond, answers: “Virginia is business friendly from a tax standpoint in helping businesses,” says Romain Lhéritier, Managing Director of Ippon USA in Richmond.

“Our target market is the East Coast. When you look at Richmond on the map, it’s pretty central. So, these were the business reasons to do things here”, according to Lhéritier. As mentioned by the director, Virginia is business-friendly, low-cost city to do business. According to Barry Matherly “Virginia is one of the best states to do business in the US, due to convenient tax and legal structures.”

In addition, investment in the region is growing. “The Richmond Region is finding momentum from investments in the Richmond Marine Terminal, speculative building construction, as well as Facebook’s plan for a $1 billion data center. We’re very proud that Richmond has been selected as the top mid-sized U.S. cities for foreign direct investment by FDI magazine”, says Matherly.

“We’re very proud to be among the top mid-sized U.S. cities for foreign direct investment” 

If words aren’t enough, check out the video on the Greater Richmond’s area!