Economic development officials are absolute experts when it comes to mixing business with pleasure, and there was a whole lot of that going on in High Point on Saturday night, April 6, when State of North Carolina economic development officials who are based around the globe met with local economic development officials at the home of High Point Economic Development Corp. President Loren Hill.

Many people might not realize it, but the State of North Carolina has internationally-based representatives who work in the four corners of the earth attempting to promote North Carolina’s exports, and they also do their best to bring business from those spots to the state.

Each year, during the April furniture market in High Point, the foreign-based representatives from the Economic Development Partnership of NC (EDPNC) come to High Point to attend the show.  This year, the representatives who came were from Hong Kong/China, Mexico, Dubai and Canada along with a staffer who’s based at the EDPNC headquarters in Cary.  The High Point Market Authority has a rep based in China, and he attended the dinner as well.

EDPNC representatives from Japan and Belgium had conflicts and couldn’t make the dinner, but they did attend the furniture market.

In recent years, the Market Authority and the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce have joined in helping host the group when they hit the High Point furniture market.

In the days preceding the April 6 dinner at Hill’s home, the delegation met with businesses in four North Carolina cities in what they call their “Go Global Roadshow.”  This year, as they usually do, they wrapped up that tour with the visit to the furniture market.  On that tour, the group spoke to North Carolina business leaders on opportunities in global markets such as Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, the Middle East and Mexico. Along with international banking experts, they also gave consultations with export-ready companies, gave country-specific presentations on targeted foreign markets and helped provide introductions and networking opportunities to North Carolina companies.

For over a decade and a half, the HPEDC has hosted the group employed by the EDPNC.  Before the EDPNC was formed, international representatives were employed by the NC Dept. of Commerce.

HPEDC President Loren Hill said he was very impressed with what he saw and heard regarding those efforts to enhance the state’s economic activity during what he said was a truly delightful evening.

“What a great professional team the EDPNC has representing us abroad.” Hill said.  “It is always a great time and a wonderful learning experience to see our friends as they visit High Point each April.  High Point, our region and state benefit from having our international allies working on our behalf.”

Hill said the representatives from the EDPNC work hard to get international companies to open facilities in the state as well as to help North Carolina companies export their products.  He added that High Point and Guilford County really benefit from having advocates all over the world creating open lines of communication.

“Over the years, these international representatives have referred clients to us who are looking to open High Point facilities or have participated in our client meetings,” Hill said.  “On Sunday, Hong Kong-based William Chu joined me to meet with a Chinese company showing at [the furniture] Market that is considering a permanent North Carolina facility.”

The word is that the global group left with smiles on their faces and with full stomachs after Hill’s wife Joyce, known as something of a gourmet chef, did the cooking for Saturday night – including courses of herb garlic chicken with mushrooms over a bed of spinach, and salmon with roasted tomatoes, lemon, Old Bay and dill.  Two new High Point companies also served up very tasty treats for the travelers and their hosts: Uncle Cheesecake provided the key lime cheesecake and Cozy Cannoli made two strawberry/pear pies with a strawberry crust.

That type of treatment of important guests can only be good for local businesses with an eye on world markets.