NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Unbound by borders; the Nashville area is one of the most dynamic centers for business growth, offering a welcoming place for international companies to expand and grow.

The global market has been reshaping the city’s skyline.

“Right now, it is Tennessee’s time to shine,” said Bob Rolfe, Commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

Tennessee is ranked one of the best in the United States for global success and infastructure.

Leaders said no city of similar size offers an environment with as much potential for international trade and investment.

“We’ve got a great state and half the battle is having a great product,” said Rolfe.

From world class cars, whiskey and guns, here we build brands.

“To think of Nashville being a magnet for foreign investment or for companies from abroad to locate here, I never would have thought that was possible,” said John Scannapieco, a partner with the law firm, Womble Bond Dickinson.

Tennessee is now home to more than 1,000 international companies that have invested around $40 billion in capital and employed more than 156,000 people.

Nashville Metro area has 340 foreign-owned companies representing 26 countries and employing more than 57,000 people.

“It’s about bringing FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to the state and about relocating headquarter companies – we call them HQ relocates.” Scannapieco continued, “By being open to the world and attracting the immigrants, foreign capital, that’s how we really keep going and growing.”

Our state courting FDI with Japan, South Korea, Ireland, Spain, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the UK, working closely with these nations to promote exports.

With powerhouse international companies like Nissan, Bridgestone, Volkswagen, Denso and Hankook Tire, the state has grown to the 14th largest exporter in the nation – quite a feat without an ocean.

“What we learned from the pandemic is you don’t want to always be importing your materials and parts from overseas because of the challenges. So guess what? Now, these manufacturing and supply chain are moving their assets to the U.S. So, It’s a real win,” Rolfe said.

And these wins are only growing. Rolfe said, “Oour team will be going back to Seoul next month. We’ve got about 15 projects in the hopper that are South Korean based companies that are considering Tennessee. We won’t win them all, Erica, but I think we will win our fair share.”

More wins means more jobs for locals. On average 20% of new job announcements are created through FDI.

“I tell our guys all the time, Erica, we want to continue to recruit with feet on gas because one day we’re going to have a recession,” Rolfe said.

The next big step for Nashville is expanding the airport.

“We have the London flight. We clearly need more international flights fights to Tokyo. It would be great to have other flights to other cities in Europe, and that’s going to happen,” said Dean.

It’s key to becoming a hub for international commerce.

“Nashville and Middle Tennessee are all in a great spot right now,” said Rolfe.

The top companies for Tennessee FDE are Japan, Germany and the UK.


Nashville’s explosive growth and rising real estate prices are due in part to outside influence. News 2 shows you how investors from around the world are shaping the area with our special reports Outside Influence.