By Edward Cardenas

TROY (CBS Detroit) – Automation Alley had an audience recently with nearly 2,500 business, government and development representatives from around the world to discuss how business accelerators, such as the Troy-based association, could help businesses locate in new markets.

Ken Rogers, executive director of Troy-based Automation Alley, was a member of  the “Business Accelerators and Innovative Work Environments” panel at the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C.

The summit brought together investors, economic development organizations, high-level government officials and other professionals from around the world to discuss investment in the United States.

Rogers highlighted Automation Alley’s Soft Landing Center which helps companies looking to locate into southeast Michigan “find a business address in the state.”

“The way things used to work , a company coming from overseas had to rent office space or a hotel room. They were by themselves trying to scratch out information about whether or not they could be successful here,” said Rogers, who added that the Soft Landing Center provides that in one location and for free. “It’s a new day for companies coming to a region where they can get that kind of help rather than … scratching it out for themselves.”

The 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit is the latest high-profile panel Automation Alley has been invited to participate with on a national level. Representatives have had  three invitations to the White House to meet with President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

The summit brought together investors, economic development organizations, high-level government officials and other professionals from around the world to discuss investment in the United States.

On the panel, Rogers was joined by Alfredo Coppola, Co-Chief Executive Officer, USA Market Access; Todd Hardy, Arizona State University, SkySong;  and Jose E. Martinez, San Antonio Free Trade Alliance.

The 3,200-square-foot International Business Center, which Rogers highlighted, is available to international companies for up to 90 days as they explore opportunities to do business in Southeast Michigan. The center includes office space with state-of-the-art communications technology, as well as access to Automation Alley staff members who can assist with site selection and introductions to potential business partners and talent to jump-start their business.

In addition to sharing programs offered by Automation Alley, Rogers was able to highlight southeast Michigan to a global audience.

“I think the audience was impressed to learn Michigan is the center for the prototype business for the automotive marketplace,” said Rogers, who also shared results of the association’s technology economy. “We are a technology center second to none.”

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