International Soft Landing Tool Kit

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Ann Arbor SPARK Michigan Map International Tool KitStarting a business in any location is challenging, and more so when that location is in a foreign country.

Ann Arbor SPARK is poised to be your partner and assist with your business growth in the United States. Here, we have collected a number of local resources that can take the burden out of opening a U.S. location – this informational guide is just a start. Ann Arbor SPARK can provide customized services as you move into the U.S. and Michigan markets.

SPARK Central Innovation Center

Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, SPARK Central’s Innovation Center offers an ideal location for launching, developing and growing your innovation-based technology. Tenants receive access to mentoring, networking and educational events. Marketing, recruiting, legal and other professional services are also available through the SPARK Business Accelerator. 

Learn more about the SPARK Central Innovation Center

Getting Started

Several steps need to be followed to open your Michigan office. In general, the steps are:

  1. Determine the legal structure of your business
  2. Register the business name with the state and county to see if name is already taken
  3. Register for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  4. Register for payment of federal taxes
  5. Register with Michigan Department of Treasury for payment of state taxes

The MEDC’s Michigan One Stop Center, (phone +1 877 766-1779), can help you with the process.

Federal, State and Local Business Resources

Federal, state, and local governments understand the benefit and value of international investment and offer business assistance in a variety of ways. The following Websites can be useful to you as you establish a US presence and learn about US business practices.

  • At the federal level, the Small Business Administration (SBA),, offers a wealth of information about starting, operating and growing a business.
  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC),, can answer questions related to the state of Michigan, including financing options and information on incentives, help connecting your company with Michigan firms seeking your product or services, and serving as a liaison to other Michigan governmental departments.
  • At the local county level, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC),, (734) 547-9170, housed at Washtenaw Community College, can answer export questions, help with market research, assist with business planning and financial strategy, and more. 

Banking and Finance

Ann Arbor SPARK is your connection to local resources. SPARK can help you find employees, make introductions to local banks, insurance firms, municipalities, networking events, and in other ways help your firm grow and thrive in the Ann Arbor region.


A local banker is an asset to your firm. A U.S.-based bank can provide business checking accounts, credit cards, various types of loans, lines of credit, letters of credit, and more. SPARK can introduce you to banks that have expertise in international banking as well. Just a few of the local firms that offer international banking services include:

Finance and Capital

As a result of the partnership between Ann Arbor SPARK and the MEDC, businesses have great ability to gain access to capital and funding. The MEDC offers a variety of resources for businesses to assist in attaining access to capital and seeking potential funders. Connecting with Ann Arbor SPARK can help identify and assess the feasibility of some of these tools; however, online resources exist as well:

Immigration Assistance

Ann Arbor SPARK is connected to talented professionals who assist businesses in their transition to the region and to the United States as a whole. These professionals provide high-quality, responsive services in areas of employment-based immigration.

Suzanne K. Sukkar, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Dickinson Wright, PLLC
350 S. Main Street
Suite 300
Ann Arbor MI 48104
T. +1.734.623.1694

Translation Services

There are several local translation services available to help translate marketing materials, contracts, business information or other resources. A list of translation services around Michigan may be found here.

English Language Training for Non-native Speakers

Residents in the Ann Arbor region speak many different foreign languages. In the Ann Arbor Public Schools, 64 languages are spoken by students. Because of this, the area offers a number of ways to brush up English language skills or more intensive English as a second language (ESL) sessions.

In addition, Ann Arbor SPARK can connect you to regional groups from around the world to help welcome you into the local community.

Hiring Employees

When you begin hiring employees, you need to be aware of certain state and federal employment laws, including interview questions to ask and questions to avoid, employee benefit packages, worker compensation insurance, and more. The Small Business Administration has a good introduction for employers. Go to and search for Human Resources to find several good articles. The Guide to Starting and Operating a Small Business has helpful resources on hiring employees as well.

Firms may choose to utilize contract employment as a way to ramp up staff. The contractor handles all employee requirements and payroll.

Intellectual Property and Patent Protection

There are many distinguished law firms located in the Ann Arbor region that specialize in Intellectual property law and are there to assist with providing excellent protection for business products.

Foreign Owned Companies in the Ann Arbor Region

The Ann Arbor region is an international business destination. Sixty-five foreign-owned firms representing 14 nations employing over 5,000 people. 

  • A&D Technology - Japan
  • ACTech North America - JapanAnn Arbor International Company France Faurecia
  • Aernnova - Spain
  • AGC America - Japan
  • Amcor Rigid Plastics - Australia
  • American Honda - Japan
  • American Soy Products Inc – Japan
  • Anger Machining - Austria
  • Asahi Kasei Plastics NA - Japan
  • Automotion, Inc - Switzerland
  • AVL Powertrain - Austria
  • AW Technical Center - Japan
  • Borries Marking Systems - Germany
  • Bosal NA - Belgium
  • BWI Group - China
  • Cameron Balloons - United Kingdom
  • Cinpres Gas Injection Inc - United Kingdom
  • Chem-Trend – Germany
  • Condat Corporation - France
  • Contral Gaging - Italy
  • Dexter Fastener Technologies - Japan
  • Eberspächer North America, Inc. - Germany 
  • Eco Physics, Inc - Switzerland
  • ETAS Inc - Germany
  • EXSTO - France
  • Faurecia - France
  • FTTA ​Fowlerville Proving Grounds - Japan
  • Genomatix - Germany
  • GFG Instrumentation - Germany
  • Gudel Lineartec Inc - Switzerland
  • Horiba Instruments Inc - Japan
  • Hyundai America Technical Center - Korea
  • IMRA America, Inc - Japan
  • JENOPTIK Laser Technologies – Germany
  • Klingelnberg-Oerlikon Tec Center – Switzerland
  • Koppert Biologic System – The Netherlands
  • Kyocera Unimerco Inc. - Japan
  • Leibherr-Aerospace - Germany
  • Liebherr Gear Technology - Germany
  • Lotus Engineering Inc - United Kingdom 
  • Mahindra GenZe - India 
  • Martinrae International - Canada
  • Mercedes -Benz Emission Test Lab - Germany
  • Mitsubishi Motors R&D - Japan
  • Mueller-BBM - Germany
  • Nagel Precision - Germany
  • NSK Corporation, Bearing Division - Japan
  • NubePrint AA - Spain 
  • Phoenix Contact - Germany
  • Pollard Banknote Ltd - Canada
  • Polytec - Germany
  • Prime Research - Germany
  • Pro-Face America - Japan
  • PRONIC, Inc. - France
  • Scherer-Trier - Germany
  • Schnorr Corporation - Germany
  • Secured by Design - United Kingdom
  • Siemens Medical Solutions - Germany 
  • SIKO Products, Inc - Germany
  • Sonczboz - Switzerland
  • Subaru Research and Development Inc - Japan
  • Terumo Cardiovascular Systems - Japan
  • Thai Summit Ogihara - Thailand
  • Toyota Technical Center - Japan
  • Trotec Laser - Austria 
  • UBE Machinery, Inc. - Japan
  • Ultra/AMI - United Kingdom
  • Wandres Micro-cleaning - Germany
  • Wintek Electro-Optics Corporation – Taiwan
  • Zoller – Germany
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