International Soft Landing Tool Kit
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Starting 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.
- Temporary Office Space at SPARK's Innovation Center
- Getting Started
- Federal, State, and Local Resources
- Banking and Finance
- Hiring Employees
- Immigration Assistance
- Translation Services
- Non-native Speakers Training
- Intellectual Property and Patent Protection
- Multilingual Ann Arbor Visitor Information
- Foreign Owned Companies
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.
Several steps need to be followed to open your Michigan office. In general, the steps are:
- Determine the legal structure of your business
- Register the business name with the state and county to see if name is already taken
- Register for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Register for payment of federal taxes
- Register with Michigan Department of Treasury for payment of state taxes
The MEDC’s Michigan One Stop Center, www.michigan.gov/business (phone +1 877 766-1779), can help you with the process.
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), www.sba.gov, offers a wealth of information about starting, operating and growing a business.
- The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), www.michiganbusiness.org, 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), http://www.sbdcmichigan.org/our-services, (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.
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:
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
Ann Arbor MI 48104
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.
- University Translators Services, LLC Any Language
- Access International Business Institute Any Language
- Forefront Corporation Dutch, French, German
- Babel Latina Inc. Language Services Any Language
- Comisal, LLC - (734) 971-0805 - Spanish translation
- Lingua Science - Japanese language
- Olas Translations - (734) 213-5396 - Spanish language
- Servicios Diversos, LLC - (734) 973-9824 - French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai
- Washtenaw Community College - (734) 973-3300 x 5068
- AA Translations - (734) 665-7295 - Any language
- Eastern Michigan University
- (734) 487-0130
- French, German, Japanese, Spanish
Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County - Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian.
- Ole Servicios Latinoamericanos Translation - (734) 528-1212 - Arabic, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish
- University of Michigan Translation Services - French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
- University of Michigan Health Services offers interpreters for patients and families of non-English speakers during their time with the health system.
- Epic Translations - (734) 786 8293 - Any Language
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.
- Ann Arbor Technical High School’s ESL for adults
- Washtenaw Community College
- Jewish Family Services ESL lessons
- Access International Business Institute
In addition, Ann Arbor SPARK can connect you to regional groups from around the world to help welcome you into the local community.
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 www.sba.gov 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.
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.
- Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
- Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C.
- Nacht Roumel Salvatore Blanchard & Walker, P.C.
- Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, LLP
- Bodman PLC
- Butzel Long
- Miller Canfield
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 - Japan
- 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
- LDL TECHNOLOGY - France
- 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