Health care companies travel to Middle East for conference

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Altus, Medicus Health and SunMed joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the health conference. Courtesy Arab Health

Leaders from three West Michigan health care companies are in the Middle East working to increase international trade.

Walker-based Altus, Kentwood-based Medicus Health and Grand Rapids-based SunMed joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the Arab Health medical exhibition, Jan. 27-30.

They were joined by two other Michigan companies: Detroit-based The Kirlin Company and Midland-based RightAnswer.com.

The goal is to increase export opportunities in the region, ultimately growing the small- and midsized businesses and bringing more jobs for Michigan residents.

This year’s Arab Health conference is showcasing more than 4,250 companies exhibiting their latest innovations to more than 55,000 health care professionals from over 159 countries.

The Michigan companies are taking part in pre-arranged business matchmaking meetings with prospective partners, distributors and buyers. The Michigan Arab Gulf Center in Dubai arranged the meetings.

In addition, the companies will experience a briefing about doing business in the Dubai region and have their own kiosks in the Michigan booth at the show.

“The Arab Health conference presents a unique opportunity to meet with health care business leaders interested in promoting the advancement of health care in the region of the United Arab Emirates, Middle East and North Africa,” said Glen Markham, EVP of corporate business development for RightAnswer.com.

“These areas are keen to improve health care with technological advancements that will allow them to catch up with and ideally surpass the quality of health care available in other areas of the world.”

A strong Michigan presence at Arab Health is increasingly important, as the United Arab Emirates quickly becomes a top trading partner to the state, the MEDC said.

Export sales to the UAE that have been facilitated by services through MEDC’s international trade team have risen significantly since 2015. In 2015, the country was Michigan’s 23rd largest export market, representing just more than $2 million in sales. By 2019, the UAE jumped to Michigan’s sixth-largest export market with more than $18 million in facilitated export sales.

This is the eighth year MEDC has led a group of businesses to Arab Health. Companies that participated since 2013 report a total of more than $40 million in increased sales as a result of attending Arab Health, the MEDC said.

“Attending Arab Health 2019 and working with MEDC and the Channels Business Solutions team was a huge help,” said Sarah Leitz, director of product marketing for Altus. “Last year, we found a distribution partner and will be working even more closely with them in 2020 to grow our market in the Gulf region.”

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