In March, an Illinois REALTORS® delegration traveled to Cannes, France, to attend MIPIM, one of the largest international real estate conferences in the world.

Ten REALTORS® with an interest in international real estate applied for and received stipends through the Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council to cover some of their travel costs. Three REALTORS® who attended MIPIM for the first time share their thoughts about the experience.

In March, an Illinois REALTORS® delegration traveled to Cannes, France, to attend MIPIM, one of the largest international real estate conferences in the world.
Illinois REALTOR® Betty Milam tries out 360-degree virtual reality goggles showing video of the Chicago skyline. The video was used to promote Illinois as a global real estate investment site at MIPIM. ALL PHOTOS BY MATT DIFANIS

Betty Milam

Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
KoenigRubloff Realty Group

Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison to Ecuador

NAR President’s Liaison to Honduras

I was honored to be a part of the delegation representing Illinois REALTORS® at this year’s MIPIM conference.

With more than 360 speakers, 100 conference and panel discussions, and 3,100 exhibiting companies, MIPIM is the premier event for any organization involved in global real estate.

This year’s event drew more than 27,000 attendees, including 5,000 investors and more than 3,800 CEOs and C-level professionals, representing more than 100 countries from around the world.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Illinois REALTORS® understand the importance of MIPIM as a strategic stage to market U.S. real estate opportunities to foreign investors and developers. For several years now, the two organizations have organized a strong presence at this fabulous event.

In addition to promoting greater awareness of global investment opportunities in Illinois, our attendance at MIPIM allowed us to identify and build new relationships for future business opportunities.

As a participant, I met with groups representing investors, developers and company executives from places such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, France, Germany, Japan, England, Brazil and China – just to name a few of the groups looking for investment opportunities.

From the discussions and presentations concerning global real estate opportunities, it was clear that market stability makes the U.S. a top location for foreign investors.

In the end, the Illinois REALTORS® who traveled to MIPIM saw their commitment pay off with an entirely new clientele list for both commercial and residential opportunities.

Personally, I look forward to attending MIPIM next year to continue my networking, increase my knowledge about the different global markets and, most important, identify new business opportunities.

In March, an Illinois REALTORS® delegration traveled to Cannes, France, to attend MIPIM, one of the largest international real estate conferences in the world.
Illinois REALTOR® Andy Velkme during a meeting at MIPIM. The international real estate event draws investors and exhibitors from around the world. PHOTO BY MATT DIFANIS

Andy Velkme

Senior Commercial Broker with Caton Commercial Real Estate Group
Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison to Latvia
NAR President’s Liaison to Latvia

After hearing rave reviews from colleagues who had attended MIPIM in previous years, I had very high expectations before I embarked on the overseas journey to Cannes. What surprised me most was that MIPIM thoroughly exceeded my expectations and solidified my belief in my decision to build a career focused on global commercial real estate.

As one of 10 Illinois REALTORS® to receive a stipend to attend the conference, I was excited to share the advantages of expanding business and investment in the state of Illinois. I knew that awareness of several key differentiators was essential to attracting interest in Illinois globally.

From an investment standpoint, the attractive capitalization rates of Illinois compared to the coasts was paramount. Illinois’ talented workforce, the low cost of doing business and the state’s central location—combined with ease of access by air, train, truck and water—makes business expansion into Illinois a very logical and defendable choice.

As the 2018 Chair of NICAR’s Commercial Global Business Network, Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison to the Republic of Latvia and the NAR President’s Liaison to the Republic of Latvia, I had other reasons to attend an international conference in Europe.

One of my clients, Medici Living Group, is based in Germany and undergoing worldwide expansion.

My business relationship with the company led to one of those moments that characterize what MIPIM is all about.

At one meeting I explained to a delegation from Toronto, Canada, that I was a first-generation Latvian with dual U.S.-Latvian citizenship, representing Illinois and a German clientele and was interested in discussing business opportunities in Canada.

In retrospect, a Latvian American, discussing his German client’s concept with a major Canadian city while in France may not have been as common of an occurrence as it seemed at MIPIM that day in Cannes.

And that is the takeaway: from the global business perspective anything is possible while at MIPIM.

In March, an Illinois REALTORS® delegration traveled to Cannes, France, to attend MIPIM, one of the largest international real estate conferences in the world.
Illinois REALTORS® Nancy Suvarnamani (left) and Vicky Silvano. PHOTO BY MATT DIFANIS

Vicky Silvano

Broker with Century 21 SGR
Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison to the Philippines
NAR’s 2018 Global Real Estate Committee Liaison

Coming in as a first-time attendee, I didn’t know how big the MIPIM conference is.

Exhibitors from some participating cities and countries have huge tents, and there were five floors of exhibits showcasing a wide range of developments from the private and government sectors.

Illinois REALTORS®’ contingent was a mix of first-timers and repeat attendees. To prepare us for MIPIM, there had been a briefing with Intersect Illinois, the state’s public-private economic development partnership. We left that meeting well prepared to answer the question, “Why Invest in Illinois?”

The state’s transportation network, logistics, manufacturing base, educational institutions and capitalization rates are among some of the reasons Illinois offers a variety of investment opportunities that other states can’t.

I met with the cities and states in the NAR pavilion to take advantage of the referral network within the industry.

I also saw familiar faces from FIABCI, both from the U.S. and other countries as well. I attended some educational sessions focused on growing economies in Africa, Eastern Europe and India.

My experience reinforced this: the world is small, business opportunities abound and people from other countries have the same wants and needs. MIPIM provided an experience to forge new relationships to grow into future business.