Cobb focuses on German companies as more investments in Georgia are planned

Cobb County seeks to develop its already substantial base of German companies at a time when the turmoil Europe should bring more WE investment of the EUthe greatest economy.

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce hosted its first-ever German business reception on November 2, connecting local German investors with three key German community institutions in the southeastern United States

After a brief word of welcome from the management of Select Cobbthe chamber’s investment recruitment initiative, participants in offices overlooking Truist Park heard the remarks of the Consul General of Germany Melanie Moltmann, Southern American German-American Chamber of Commerce President Matthias Hoffman and NRW.Global Business representing Daniel Duren.

With the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis caused by the power cut Russian gas, German companies are looking further afield for new markets and sources of diversification, said Ms. Moltmann and Mr. Hoffmann.

The dire situation could lead more companies to explore the southeastern United States, where hundreds of German companies have found a hospitable home.

“When we have delegations that come, they say they don’t know much about Atlanta or Georgia beforehand, but when they get here, they all tell me the welcome has been great,” Ms. Moltmann, encouraging the chamber to continue to welcome German. companies “with open arms” as they recalibrate their global operations.

Mr. Hoffmann of the GACC South gave these claims some statistical support, noting that more than 5,000 German companies have invested in the United States. The 11-state GACC South region hosts 1,500, or about 30%. In Georgia alone, there are nearly 500 German companies, he said, and more are expected to come as the German economy struggles.

“We are already seeing this happen,” he said, and communities like Cobb, home to 25 German companies, including elevator giant TKEmedical device company Erbeprinting machine supplier Heidelberg and others, can prepare by ensuring their workforce is ready to meet the growing demand for skilled labour.

“All these German companies are coming. They will need staff. How to retain our staff? How can we build our own workforce here in the United States? This is a question that remains to be answered,” Hoffmann said.

Mr. Düren of NRW.Global Business, meanwhile, focused on the opposite direction, positioning the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia as a gateway to the European market for American companies. It may not seem like an opportune time for a global expansion, but the outlook seems to have not gotten the memo, he said.

“We heard twice that the environment is very difficult in Germany and Europe,” said Mr. Düren, after Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Moltmann. “Yes it is. But for some reason we had the highest number of American companies wanting to invest in Germany right now,” Mr Düren said, noting that NRW – a state of 18 million people home to cities like Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, Essen and others — accounts for 21% of Germany’s GDP, or some $700 billion a year.

“If NRW was its own country, we would be No. 7 in Europe and No. 18 in the world, economically speaking, so it’s a pretty strong state,” he said.

Dana Johnsonexecutive director of SelectCobb and chief operating officer of the chamber, emphasized the importance of cultivating local relationships as the community deepens its global ties.

“We understand that international trade doesn’t just happen here. It happens on both sides and we want to be supportive partners,” he said.

The Chamber recently led a delegation to Quebec deepen one’s attention to Canada. Together with Germany, it also strategically targets Japananother country for which he hosted an appreciation reception.

James R. Rhodes