By: Beverley Ferrara, European Representative for The Water Council
This past January I was engaged by The Water Council (TWC) to lead its European outreach to deepen relationships with their Global Partners in Germany, the Netherlands and France and assist their member companies looking to establish U.S. operations. It became clear that European firms are looking for help in precisely the areas that TWC can deliver through its various market-entry initiatives. To jump start our strategy I worked with the team in Milwaukee to formulate an Overseas Membership, designed specifically to assist companies located outside the U.S. with a range of practical services, from identifying potential partners and accessing pilot opportunities to soft-landing facilities in the Global Water Center. After successfully testing our offering with the German Water Partnership in April we decided to launch the new program to a wider audience a month later at IFAT 2018 in Munich, Germany.
With 3,305 exhibitors and 141,000 visitors from 160 countries, IFAT is the biggest and most important trade fair in Europe for water and environmental technologies. Reflecting its importance, Dean Amhaus and Karen Frost from TWC headquarters in Milwaukee provided invaluable support through their deep industry knowledge of the U.S. water tech market. Cate Rahmlow of WEDC attended on behalf of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation with a special focus on the water-energy nexus. While using the event as a launch pad for Overseas Membership, our strong showing strengthened our differentiation as the #1 water tech cluster in the U.S. with aspirations of global domination. Due to intensive preparations pre-show, IFAT was highly productive thanks to a full schedule of meetings and events over four days.
*A special shout out to our sister state Hessen Trade & Invest for their wonderful hospitality to our team throughout the week.
The Water Council’s unique eco-system is an attractive ‘go-to’ location for European companies and the result is an array of potential opportunities which will be invaluable for the year ahead as we continue the deployment of our European strategy.