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Chester County Economic Development Council Mobilizes 25 Members of Pennsylvania Global Business Advisors to Assist Businesses

New Program Director Wilfred Muskens Tapped to Lead Effort

The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) is announcing that 25 international business experts have committed to serve on Pennsylvania Global Business Advisors, a world-class, private sector, B2B advisory board for regional and international companies looking to expand imports, exports, foreign direct investment and international partnerships.

Pennsylvania Global Business Advisors (GBA) is being led by newly appointed program director Wilfred Muskens, Honorary Consul in Philadelphia for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and former Deputy Secretary for the Office of International Business Development for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Muskens is joined by international business experts from the counties of Berks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York, with others to be added over the next few weeks and months.

Pennsylvania Global Business Advisors will offer international business support and global advisory services harnessing expertise from PA businesses and universities that include Fox Rothschild, Fulton Bank, Littus, Siemens, White & Williams, NAI Commercial Partners, UPS, Prepay Nation, Brandywine M&A, Green and Spiegel, Pennex Aluminum, Villanova University, West Chester University and Elizabethtown College. Other active partners include the U.S. Commercial Service (Philadelphia office), the Irish-American Business Chamber and Network, the German-American Chamber, and the Mid-Atlantic Eurasia Business Council. GBA will also work in close collaboration with other international organizations in PA, including the Commonwealth’s Office of International Business Development (Department of Community and Economic Development), the PA Department of Agriculture, World Trade Centers in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, World Affairs Councils, bilateral Chambers, Small Business Development Centers and more. Industries served include agriculture, finance, health care, life sciences, energy, tourism, logistics and higher education.

“Global priorities have changed dramatically since COVID, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and related supply chain disruptions, and no one knows this better than our collective that has done business in more than 60 countries and speaks more than 20 languages,” said Muskens. “What makes Pennsylvania Global Business Advisors truly unique – with nothing else like it in Pennsylvania – is that its members are almost entirely from the private sector, we receive zero government funding and focus exclusively on international trade and investment. We’ve also expanded our reach to include not only the Greater Philadelphia area but the entire state of Pennsylvania.”

Muskens notes that GBA’s goal is to be a complementary, B2B source of international information and expertise, leveraging but not replacing free and low-cost assistance available from federal, state and regional trade organizations. GBA will be referring companies to those organizations as well as offering GBA member services where appropriate and useful.

It’s the latest evolution of CCEDC’s global business initiatives, which are mobilizing for the first time since the pandemic. For more than 20 years, CCEDC’s International Business Council convened the most successful international business leaders, bankers and attorneys in the region to collaborate and support local businesses in global business ventures. In addition, the Chester County China Initiative (CCCI), a pre-pandemic partnership between Chester County and CCEDC to promote business relationships in China, resulted in a number of business partnerships and formal cooperation agreements that continue today.

“This exceptional partnership ensures that local businesses can draw on the region’s greatest international minds to build their presence in global markets, and international businesses get easy access to a full range of foreign investment support services,” said Michael Grigalonis, CCEDC Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President. “We’re excited to advance several projects that are already underway including an upcoming trade mission to Ireland, a partnership opportunity with India, a Dutch urban farming endeavor, support of a Canadian manufacturer and services for underrepresented communities including Hispanic-owned businesses.”

Areas of expertise range from strategic planning and market research to more tactical and transactional based services in areas such as international logistics, law, real estate, education and banking – in addition to individual country, cultural and language expertise. A combination of free and fee-based services will be offered depending on a client’s individual needs as well as the nature and scope of work.

Visit GBA Webpage