Ames Chamber of Commerce partners with Des Moines Partnership for trip to Brazil

Dan Culhane, president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce

Courtesy photo: Ames Chamber of Commerce

Dan Culhane, president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce

Nicole Mcintosh

Thirty-five miles may separate Des Moines from Ames, but the businessmen of those cities don’t let that stop them from partnering together. The Ames Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Commission are joining with the Greater Des Moines Partnership to lead a business mission trip to Brazil this October.

The trip to Brazil is the second trip the two communities will take together. After a successful trip to China in Sept. 2010, the cities decided that another trip would greatly benefit the companies and businessmen around the area.

“We are part of the same economic region, and it is important for the Partnership and Ames Chamber to work together on really as many things as possible,” said Jay Byers, senior vice president of Government Relations for the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Brazil has a similar economy and grows products that are found here in Iowa, as well. The country is one of the state’s big competitors in the global market. The trip, potentially to the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, will allow them to see firsthand how the businesses and markets are run.

“The synergy between Central Iowa and Brazil, we think, is a good fit,” said Dan Culhane, president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce.

The benefits of the trip are more than just checking out the competition. With Brazil having such a large agricultural market, Iowa’s bioengineering, research and other products have the opportunity to expand to a new market.

“It’s a real growth opportunity for certain industries to expand their international sales of both goods and services,” Byers said.

The Partnership and the Chamber will also be talking to companies that may want to relocate from Brazil to Central Iowa. Iowa’s resources and presence in the United States may be a good fit for some of those companies, both of which mean job growth in Iowa.

Learning the culture will also be a part of the trip. Ron Hallenbeck, vice president of Existing Business and Industry with the Chamber who is coordinating the trip from the Ames side, is working with the ambassador to Brazil and the travel agency arranging the trip to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

Iowa State has a presence in the trip as well. The university, along with the research park, sent four people on the last business trip to China. Ties back to students helped the Chamber with their connections to China.

Iowa State brings a great deal to the table for the Chamber and the Partnership. The work being done at the research park, the studies being done on campus and the involvement of the university with the community are beneficial to all parties.

“We have been able to continue the relationship with China because of students,” Culhane said. “We would have never had some of the opportunities without them.”

Along with members of Iowa State, both the Chamber and the Partnership extend the invitation for the business mission trip to companies in the area for several reasons.

Hallenbeck says the other goals for the trip are to “familiarize, provide a service to our members, engage with companies located in Brazil and see the opportunities that exist there.”

The agenda for the trip is still being set, so registration will be open in the near future for companies to take the opportunity to go along to Brazil.

The Chamber and the Partnership are holding a forum May 19 to give information, answer questions and familiarize the culture for anyone interested.

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