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Conference proves beneficial
Officials return with development leads
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Forsyth County News


A trip to Washington, D.C., has resulted in four economic development leads for Forsyth County.

In a briefing Thursday with the county development authority, Randall Toussaint of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce described the BIO International Conference as successful.

Toussaint and Lynn Jackson, administrator of Northside-Hospital Forsyth and a development authority member, attended the event in late June.

“We thought we’d be the little guy, but we actually had seven folks who registered to meet with us,” said Toussaint, noting this was the first time local representatives had attended the conference.

It is one of the top gatherings for bio-medical technologies in the world, focusing on companies that use high levels of technology to develop new medical products.

The trip cost about $9,000, which had been included in the authority’s annual budget.

Of the seven companies that met with the Forsyth representatives, Toussaint said four have become strong leads to potentially locate here.

“In terms of economic development, we felt [attending the conference] was effective,” he said.

Three of the four firms interested in Forsyth are international. “One is Asian and two are German,” Toussaint said.

He said the companies were attracted to Forsyth based on the county’s proximity to the Atlanta airport and other international businesses with local offices.

Forsyth has a large international presence, with more than 50 foreign firms located here.

Jackson told the authority during its meeting Thursday that she found the conference “very eye-opening and enlightening.”

She learned such businesses don’t necessarily require extensive space.

“We discovered there’s a lot of opportunity out there,” she said. “A lot of these businesses could be brought in and not require the square footage I thought.”

Toussaint and other chamber officials will continue their efforts to bring the companies to Forsyth.

The authority has also set aside about $16,000 for two representatives to attend the MEDICA Conference, similar to BIO Interntional, this fall in Germany.

It has also budgeted for two “red carpet tours,” which can showcase Forsyth to respective businesses.