Nashville Was Investment Music To My Ears – By Andy Bewick

L-R James Syree, Andy Bewick and Lori Odom.
L-R James Syree, Andy Bewick and Lori Odom.

The special trading relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is well documented. In fact, if you watched the recent debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer you would have heard them talk about its importance. I wasn’t able to watch the debate live, as I was actually in the US at the time forging trading relationships of my own!

James Syree and I visited Lori Odom from The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Lori is the Senior Vice President of Economic Development / International Business and is responsible for promoting the Nashville region globally and facilitating economic growth through inward investment and the expansion of existing regional industries into international markets.

Nashville might make you think country music instead of inward investment and you’re not wrong, the music was incredible. But so is their commitment to making Nashville a go to destination for business, including forging strong links with the UK.

The US and the UK are the world’s first and sixth largest economies in the world and mutual trade and investment are at the heart of that prosperity. In 2022 the two countries traded over $296 billion worth of goods and services and are each other’s number one source of foreign direct investment. Two-way direct investment totals over $1 trillion.

We received incredible insight into Tennessee’s inward investment approach and its success in establishing UK and Ireland specific links with over 180 UK and Irish companies employing over 20,000 Tennesseans, and investing a staggering $2bn in the State’s economy. No wonder there is a direct flight from London Heathrow to Nashville International Airport!

This clearly shows there are opportunities. The question, as always, is how is this relevant for our clients? A key way to do this is to meet with people like Lori and organisations like Chambers of Commerce and tell them.

We explained how Ballards are supporting global businesses inwardly investing into the UK and how we have helped a number of US companies with this transition. Getting involved early in the decision making process is vital, to ensure investors make the best use of the strategic opportunities and incentives available. As well as the standard tasks of incorporating the company and dealing with the compliance, we can also assist with our strategic consultancy offering, recruiting a workforce and location services.

The timing meant we could also demonstrate our international credentials and reach as we were in Nashville attending the AGN World Congress. An Association of likeminded accountancy firms based in over 80 countries, that benefit from the global expertise of one another to meet client needs. Inward investing is a perfect example of this and I’ve collaborated on projects for overseas member firms for the UK and they’ve reciprocated in other countries for my clients.

There was a lot to take away from my time in Nashville and I’ve set out a few highlights in this blog. But as a Midlands based firm, one of the most eye opening was how uncanny it is that even 4000 miles apart, there can be so much similarity with the strengths of sectors between Tennessee and the Midlands of the UK, with automotive, healthcare, tech, logistics and advanced manufacturing being great strengths of our region too. Regions committed to growth, creating opportunities and international presence.

Special thanks to Lori Odom for taking the time to meet with us and to Adam Breeze (inward investment specialist at Breeze Strategy) for the introduction. And it would be a disservice to not thank Nashville for the music and it’s infectious atmosphere that makes me, as Ballards International Partner, work even harder to build on these new connections for current and new clients so I can go for another visit!

Written by Andy Bewick, Corporate & International Partner at Ballards LLP

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