International Soft Landing Tool Kit

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Ann Arbor SPARK can assist in growing your business in the United States.  We like to help you eliminate the challenges you sometimes face when starting a new business in a foreign country.  This step-by-step informational guide is only the beginning – Ann Arbor SPARK can provide customized services as you move into the U.S. and Michigan markets.

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 area.  We will be there with you every step of the way as you build your business in our region.  We can connect you to regional groups from around the world to help welcome you into the local community, point you in the right direction for real estate, education, and health care.  We will help you make our home, your home.

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  • Federal, state, and local governments understand the benefit and value of international investment and offer business assistance in a variety of ways.  As you establish a U.S. presence, the following organizations can be useful to you as you learn about U.S. business practices.
    • The Small Business Administration (SBA) (800-827-5722) offers a wealth of information about starting, operating and growing a business.
    • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) (888-522-0103) 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.
    • The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) (734-477-8768), housed at Washtenaw Community College, can answer export questions, help with market research, assist with business planning and financial strategy, and more.
  • Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, SPARK Central 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.
  • If you need space, search available buildings and land here.
  • Since our region is very diverse with many different cultures represented, there are many opportunities to connect with local community groups:


  • 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 avoid, employee benefit packages, worker compensation insurance, and more. 
  • Immigration Assistance – Need assistance in your transition to the region and the United States?  These professionals provide high-quality, responsive service in regards to employment-based immigration:
  • Assistance with US Citizenship Process – 8.8 million immigrants are currently eligible for citizenship in the US. New American Workforce works with businesses to assist their eligible immigrant employees with the citizenship process. Statistics show a direct correlation between immigrant integration and happier, more effective workers — which directly impacts business profitability. New American Workforce is funded by national and local foundations to work with businesses to offer free citizenship services to their legal permanent resident employees (green card holders). They provide these employees with free informational assistance and legal assistance to become US citizens. For more information contact:
  • Translation Services – Need marketing materials, contracts, business information or other resources translated?  These organizations are here to help:
  • English Language Training for Non-native Speakers – Need to brush up on your English language skills?  Residents in the Ann Arbor region speak many different languages and in our local public school system, over 64 languages are spoken by students.  Because of this diversity of language, there are many opportunities for English as a second language (ESL) classes:



  • AUSTRALIA – Amcor Rigid Plastics
  • AUSTRIA – Anger Machining, AVL Powertrain, Trotec Laser
  • BELGIUM – Bosal NA
  • CANADA – Martinrae Inernational, Pollard Banknote Ltd
  • CHINA – BWI Group
  • FRANCE – Condat Corporation, EXSTO, Faurecia, LDL Technology, PRONIC Inc
  • GERMANY – Borries Marking Systems, Chem-Trend, Eberspacher North America, ETAS Inc, Genomatix, GFG Instrumentation, JENOPTIK Laser Technologies, Leibherr-Aerospace, Liebherr Gear Technology, Mercedes-Benz Emission Test Lab, Mueller-BBM, Nagel Precision, Phoenix Contact, Polytec, Prime Research, Scherer-Trier, Schnorr Corporation, Siemens Medical Solutions, SIKO Products Inc, Wandres Micro-cleaning, Zoller
  • INDIA – Mahindra GenZe
  • ITALY – Contral Gaging
  • JAPAN – A&D Technology, ACTech North America, AGC America, American Honda, American Soy Products Inc, Asahi Kasei Plastics NA, AW Technical Center, Dexter Fastnener Technologies, FTTA Fowlerville Proving Grounds, Horiba Instruments Inc, IMRA America Inc, Kyocera Unimerco Inc, Mitsubishi Motors R&D, NSK Corporation Bearing Division, Pro-Face America, Subaru Research and Development Inc, Terumo Cardiovascular Systems, Toyota Technical Center, UBE Machinery Inc,
  • KOREA – Hyundai America Technical Center
  • SPAIN – Aernnova, NubePrint AA
  • SWITZERLAND – Automotion Inc, Eco Physics Inc, Gudel Lineartec Inc, Klingelnberg-Oerlikon Tec Center, Sonczboz
  • TAIWAN – Wintek Electro-Optics Corporation
  • THAILAND – Thai Summit Ogihara
  • THE NETHERLANDS – Koppert Biologic System
  • UNITED KINGDOM – Cameron Balloons, Cinpres Gas Injection Inc, Lotus Engineering Inc, Secured by Design, Ultra/AMI


  • Wayne Brannon, Principal at WDB Consulting LLC
  • Richard Corson, Director at East Michigan U.S. Export Assistance Center
  • Michael Drake, Director, Corporate Relations at University of Michigan
  • Tel Ganesan, President & CEO at Kyyba Inc.
  • Joseph D. Gustavus, Senior Principal at Miller Canfield
  • Soraya Kim, Esq., Chief Innovation Officer at American Center for Mobility
  • Peter Kozma, Retired Executive at Liebherr
  • Bhushan Kulkarni, President and CEO at GDI Infotech, Inc
  • Grace Lee, Vice Chair/President at Asia Pacific American Chamber of Commerce
  • Dieter Lehnert, Project Manager at German American Chamber of Commerce
  • Tom Nastas, President and Founder at Innovative Ventures
  • Molly Swart, Senior Trade Advisor at Automotive Business France North America
  • Rick Walawender, Miller Canfield
  • Mark V. Heusel, Member at Dickinson Wright
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