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Forsyth seeks Japanese businesses
Chamber leader recently returned from Far East
dill posed 1 jd
Brian Dill recently traveled to Japan to promote business in Forsyth County. - photo by File photo
Attracting strong international businesses to Forsyth County was the focus of a recent trip to Japan.

Brian Dill, vice president of economic development for the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, spent just a few days in the Far East earlier this month, but returned home with four prospective businesses.

“I feel really good about how things turned out,” Dill said. “Being able to be there and get in front of companies we wouldn’t normally meet is a tremendous advantage versus sitting in the office waiting for ... them to come to us.”

Forsyth’s international business repertoire is growing. For example, there are about 10 German businesses in the county.

Hoover Precision Products is the lone Japan-based business that calls Forsyth its American home.

That could change soon, Dill said. The county is competing with another state to attract a medical device company.

Being able to meet with that company’s leadership face to face, Dill said, could give Forsyth the edge when the firm makes its decision later this year.

“I think it makes all the difference in the world,” he said.

Dill traveled to Tokyo as part of the Southeast United States Trade Conference. The $4,500 expense was funded by the Forsyth County Development Authority.

Bobby Thomas, authority chairman, said the group “felt that it would be a good investment in trying to reach out and attract new businesses, specifically foreign investments into the county.”

Thomas said he had full confidence in sending Dill.

“I couldn’t think of a better person to represent us over there,” he said.

Union and Chatham were the only other Georgia counties represented on the trip. The group traveled with Consul General Takuji Hanatani from the Consulate General of Japan.

Both Dill and Hanatani will discuss the trade mission during the chamber’s fourth quarter Economic Development Committee meeting Nov. 13.

In the meantime, Dill said he is working with four new prospects to add to the 350 companies that already have an American branch in Georgia.

Dill said being aggressive in promoting Forsyth to foreign investors is especially important in today's down economy.

“Getting the community’s name out there and being involved and aggressive in a down economy is probably one of the single-most important things,” he said.

“It was a quick trip ... but some good contacts were made and some good prospects were generated, and hopefully the return on that investment will turn up sooner than later.”