Since the early 80's, Middfest International has become a gathering of dignitaries from around the world. This year joining the event from as far away as one of the largest countries and most radically changing societies of the world, China. A large part of this year's celebration is focused on business with the Business Exchange Conference and Expo.
Virginia Ritan, Executive Director of Middfest International, says, "We have always had a business element to our event which always features a countries culture, but this year it has grown to three days. The U.S. Department of Commerce is involved on Friday, September 29th at the Manchester Inn in Middletown; with speakers, networking, a business expo and more." According to Debbie Dirr, International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, her agency's focus is on providing information and support to smaller U.S. companies entering China and other foreign markets.
Partners for the Friday lunch time affair include the Miami Valley International Trade Association, Southern Ohio District Export Council, EMTEC, Frost Brown and Todd, National City Bank, Nortel and others. Ohio Lt. Governor, Bruce Johnson has been confirmed to speak at the Wednesday meeting at noon.
Middletown's Director of Economic Development, Bill Murphy has been instrumental in involving the greater area of Southwestern Ohio. He says, "We want to give area business's opportunities to understand working with China through legal aspects, political aspects and logistical aspects. China is the third largest country in the world and equates into the largest single group of consumers. We need to know how to work with them on every level."
Closer to home, Co-Chair for the Middfest International Business Exchange Committee, Jianjian Cai, runs her company, Access International, www.accessorient.com, from her Mason home and is dealing with her Chinese contacts on a daily basis. One of her assignments for the Middfest International project has been to actively confirm the solvency of the businesses coming from China.
Business matching is also big part of the three day scheduled program. "This is a biggie," says co-chair Adriane Scherrer. "Come meet with the visiting businesses for one on one opportunities. Many of the companies invited from China are coming from cities similar to Middletown. These are small towns which have an interest in revitalizing their downtown areas. We are still looking for area companies to provide welcome gifts and matching interest with company tours."
For more detailed information on attending or participating in this regionally impressive event contact, The U.S. Department of Commerce at www.export.gov ; Adriane Scherrer at 513-513-727-8069, JianJian Cai at 513-573-9123 or the Middfest International office at 513-427-7707. The Middfest weekend event runs from September 29th through October 1st. Visit www.middfestinternational.org for more information.