LEAP Goes Global: Milan and Turin

This week brings more opportunity in Italy, but this time from Milan and Turin.  These iconic cities in the northern region are very different in culture from one another and hold distinct differences in terms of objectives for Lansing.  In Milan, it’s all about fashion, and due to our Lansing Runway, we have a story to tell in the World’s fashion capital… and people are listening.  Who? I’ve met with leaders from fashion icon brands Dolce and Gabana and Valentino to discuss the Lansing Runway’s ‘Designer In Residence Program’ for their young entrepreneurial designers.  I also met with several companies in industry who are developing new products in the tech and plastics.  This trip coincided with the World Expo in Milan and I was invited to attend with a consultant who I have been working with.  The Expo, the size of a college campus, was 5-years in the making and each of the dozens of Counties which are represented built a permanent structure to showcase their culture.  With intricate designs similar to the Board Art Museum, countries tell their story of sustainability, energy and food production.  It was wonderful to meet different people from around the world and share stories about commerce, culture and Michigan’s Capital.  The highlight was meeting with a group of businessmen from Lithuania and sharing a meal of pork shank, buckwheat and a Lithuanian salad dish.

From Fashion to Fiat; in Turin, it’s all about the automotive opportunities.  With Fiat’s production move from Turin to Serbia, auto-suppliers are interested in the North American automotive manufacturing market, and since Lansing is not only the Capital City, but the Capital of Automotive manufacturing, there was much to discuss.  I also visited the headquarter and operations center for the start-up distribution company that I met with in Rome.  We are discussing Lansing as the entry point for their North American expansion.

All good things come to an end; so it’s a fitting return to the States in time for Memorial Day, as I have many more memories, friends and opportunities for Lansing.  I am privileged and proud to travel on behalf of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the City of Lansing and our great State of Michigan.  I look forward to seeing you soon.

Grazie Mille, Ciao and Arrivederci.