IPA of the Year

Winner: Go Vilnius, Lithuania

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Lithuania’s Go Vilnius is fDi’s IPA of the Year, capping off an extremely successful year for the city. The Lithuanian capital came first in fDi’s Tech Start-up FDI Attraction Index 2019 and performed well in both the Smart and Fintech Locations of the Future 2019/20 rankings.

 

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According to data from greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets, FDI into Vilnius has steadily increased since 2014, culminating in a record 45 projects in 2018, representing $864m in capital investment and more than 5000 jobs. This was the city’s most successful year since fDi Markets began recording data in 2003.

Go Vilnius works to ensure the city punches above its weight – especially in tech-driven sectors – through a well-coordinated approach that encourages innovation. The organisation has a three-point strategy for attracting investors.

First, it provides direct support for international companies looking for qualified foreign talent through its online relocation guide, ‘Welcome to Vilnius’ workshops and direct individual consultations. Second, it keeps in regular contact with investors to assess their situation and collect feedback on potential areas for improvement through meetings, an annual investor survey and ad hoc problem solving. Third, it takes an industry-specific approach in aftercare initiatives, not only working with individual companies, but also reaching out to specific sectors.

I am truly happy that awareness of the city for investment and relocation is growing each year

Remigijus Simasius, mayor, Vlinius

Currently, in co-operation with the laser sector, Go Vilnius aims to develop city infrastructure improvements using laser technology and raise awareness about the global achievements of the laser industry in Lithuania. Similar initiatives are planned for the future in sectors such as fintech and biotechnology.

Go Vilnius also follows the principle of integrating digital, smart and intelligent solutions into all of its activities, with R&D-intensive technology sectors among its key industries. Investors benefit from the municipality’s open data policy and Go Vilnius’s partnership with Vilnius University to engage with students from its international masters programme. The students were given an authentic case study and are now working with Go Vilnius on a project aimed at establishing Vilnius Makerspace, an open place where tech professionals and artists can collaborate on creative projects.

Highly commended: New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has a team of more than 50 full-time staff dedicated to promoting and facilitating inward investment. This includes providing financial and real estate incentives, and promoting entrepreneurship and economic diversification across the city.

NYCEDC has implemented numerous industry initiatives including: IN2NYC, the US’s first municipally led programme designed to help international entrepreneurs access visas; the Digital Health Marketplace, which has made more than 900 matches between start-ups and prospective New York hospital and healthcare provider clients; and CyberNYC, a catalytic $100m investment to grow the city’s cybersecurity ecosystem through an innovative suite of public-private partnerships.

The organisation is also behind infrastructure developments such as the Made in NY Campus at Bush Terminal, which will form a focus point for creative manufacturing in New York and provide affordable, best-in-class industrial facilities for garment manufacturing, film and media production, and related services and industries.

The city is investing $136m in major renovations to create a 18,580-square-metre garment manufacturing hub, a 9290-square-metre state-of-the-art film and television production facility, and numerous pedestrian and infrastructure improvements.

Best IPA web strategy

Winner: Montreal International, Canada

Montreal International’s (MI's) website is a key element in the organisation’s marketing and communication strategy. It features exclusive high-value content including a business blog with more than 35,000 views in the past year, success stories, promotional videos and testimonials. The home page can be accessed in nine different languages and several microsites are dedicated to the region’s key audiences, such as those working in life sciences and health technologies.

In addition, investors can benefit from Zoom Greater Montreal, a project initiated by the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (Montreal metropolitan area), in partnership with MI, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal and CargoM. The web portal allows users to search for office space and industrial or commercial properties for rent or for sale in the region using GIS technology. MI also has a strong social media presence with 30,000 subscribers across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and 10,000 subscribers to its monthly newsletter.

Best social media strategy

Winner: ProBarranquilla, Colombia

ProBarranquilla’s #YoSoyProBarranquilla initiative aims to promote the city as an ideal business and investment destination. It seeks to highlight Barranquilla’s advantages, opportunities and experiences not only from those living in the city, but also those of locals living abroad. In 2018, the hashtag reached 400,000 people and was used in more than 500 Instagram posts. In addition, the #30Hechos hashtag was created to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ProBarranquilla. Throughout 2018, different posts were made to highlight the organisation’s impact. In total, 30 posts were published, reaching more than 50,000 people.

Winner: Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Invest Hong Kong’s comprehensive social media strategy includes heavy use of video for online promotion. The organisation regularly uploads videos onto its dedicated YouTube channel, corporate website and other social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and Weibo. Invest Hong Kong also regularly posts news across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and uses a variety of online benchmarking and content management tools such as Google Analytics, Google Webmaster, Hootsuite and Alexa.com to assess the impact of its marketing-driven initiatives and the success of website traffic-driving programmes. In 2017, the organisation opened a WeChat account to promote Hong Kong as an FDI destination for investors from mainland China.

Best marketing slogan

Winner: Orlando Economic Partnership, US

'Orlando. You don’t know the half of it.'

Specialisms

Advanced manufacturing: Hamilton Economic Development, Canada

Well known as a hub for advanced manufacturing in Canada, Hamilton employs more than 50,000 people. It is home to Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, a non-profit organisation dedicated to driving advanced manufacturing nationwide by matching manufacturing companies with new technologies. R&D support is also available through McMaster University, Mohawk College, McMaster Automotive Resource Centre and CanmetMaterials, Canada’s largest research centre dedicated to fabricating, processing and evaluating metals and materials.

Aerospace: City of Mississauga, Canada

Mississauga is home to more than 340 aerospace companies with 28,000 employees, as well as the largest aerospace cluster in Canada by employment. The city’s aerospace manufacturing sub-sector is also the largest across all major Canadian centres by total employment and number of businesses.

Agribusiness: Brisbane Marketing, Australia

The Brisbane Future Food Initiative aims to enhance the city’s capability to build, scale and grow food ventures. It features a dedicated accelerator programme, which has supported the growth of 20 companies who collectively have created more than 30 jobs in the first 18 months of the initiative and returned an average revenue growth of 12%. In addition, Brisbane Marketing will launch a new programme aimed at linking industry, entrepreneurs and research innovation to encourage new businesses.

Artificial intelligence: Montreal International, Canada

Montreal has established itself as a major global hub for artificial intelligence (AI). The city has the highest concentration of deep-learning researchers in the world and is home to the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms and the Institute for Data Valorisation. Recent government and private investments amount to C$1.1bn ($827.78m), and more than 90 global companies and start-ups have established operations in the city including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and IBM. Supported by the Quebec government, Montreal International announced plans to create an international observatory on the societal impacts of AI and digital technologies in December 2018.

Bioenergy: Invest Pacific, Colombia

Valle del Cauca is Colombia’s leading region for bioenergy production. It contributes more than 90% of the bioethanol produced in Colombia and more than 98% of the cogeneration of national electricity from biomass. There is potential for companies that seek to take advantage of the transformation of biomass generated from sources such as sugar cane residues, forest residues and solid and animal waste.

Blockchain: New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

New York is experiencing explosive growth in its blockchain ecosystem, with a 370% increase in blockchain-related jobs from 2016 to 2018. The city is home to several of the world’s largest blockchain companies including IBM, R3 and Coinbase. Meanwhile, initiatives such as the annual Blockchain Week around Consensus, the industry’s largest conference, and the NYC BigApps Blockchain Challenge, further bolster the city’s reputation as a global leader in blockchain innovation. The NYC Blockchain Centre, operated by Future/Perfect Labs and the Global Blockchain Business Council, opened in January 2019 and is New York’s first public-private blockchain centre.

BPO: Invest in Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá is home to 62% of Colombia’s shared service centres and 81% of its IT and BPO companies, accounting for more than 40% of national employment. The city is an attractive investment destination for the BPO industry, given its competitive costs, strategic nearshore/offshore locations and more than 40,000 students in IT-related fields. Online retailer Amazon opened a regional customer service centre in Bogotá in October 2018, creating 600 jobs.

Chemicals: Invest in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena in Bolívar is a leader in the production and export of petrochemical products in Colombia, with 81.5% of exports and 72.5% of Bolívar’s imports coming from petrochemical-plastic industry products. The petrochemical-plastic cluster represents 63% of the added value of the local industry. Cartagena also has the most modern petroleum refinery in Latin America, with a production capacity of 165,000 barrels per day, as well as the most efficient, safe and modern port infrastructure in the country.

Creative industries: ACI Medellín, Colombia

Creative industries are one of the priority sectors in Medellín’s new economic development policy, representing 1.5% of Antioquia’s GDP in 2017. Medellín’s creative sector consists of more than 1690 companies; 99% of which are micro and small companies involved in activities related to music, television, design, photography, jewellery, theatre, cinema, radio and the plastic arts. In addition, Medellín is the only city in Colombia with a film commission, and offers 15% additional incentives to those offered by the national government.

Cybersecurity: Ignite Fredericton, Canada

Ignite Fredericton, in partnership with Opportunities NB and Cyber NB, has helped solidify the capital of New Brunswick's status as a cybersecurity hub through the construction of critical physical infrastructure and the implementation of workforce development initiatives. In partnership with Cyber NB, the University of New Brunswick and Opportunities NB, Ignite Fredericton’s Knowledge Park is establishing a 12,540-square-metre Cyber Park facility dedicated to accommodating the city’s growing cybersecurity sector. Cyber Park's estimated contribution within its first decade of operation is estimated to contribute 7500 new jobs (direct and indirect) to Fredericton and $230m to the region’s GDP (direct and indirect).

Data centres: Montreal International, Canada

Named ‘Data Centre Location of the Year’ at the Datacloud Global Awards 2019, Greater Montréal has quickly become a key hub for data hosting and processing services. Investors benefit from the region’s cool climate, reliable and affordable renewable energy resources, favourable business climate and major ICT industry.

Gaming and visual effects: Montreal International, Canada

Montreal is the world’s fifth largest gaming production centre and home to more than 140 studios, including industry giants Ubisoft, Warner, Eidos and Gameloft. As of 2018, more than 10,000 full-time employees work in video games in Quebec, accounting for more than half of the country’s jobs in the industry. The city is also a global hub for visual effects and has the highest industry concentration in Canada, with companies including Cinesite, Digital Dimension, Double Negative, Framestore, Hybride, Mathematic Studios and Rodeo FX.

Life Sciences: New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

The New York metropolitan area has the largest bioscience workforce in the US and the world’s largest concentration of academic institutions. The city has announced a 10-year, $500m plan named LifeSciNYC to further support the sector by creating new laboratory space, investing in its workforce, and forging industry partnerships. It is expected to attract $6.5bn in total private investment and construction. As part of the initiative, the city has committed $100m in capital and identified potential development sites in East Harlem, Long Island and Kips Bay for the creation of a world-class hub for life sciences R&D.

Logistics: Invest Pacific, Colombia

Colombia’s only multimodal logistics platform on the Pacific Ocean is in Cali, making it a renowned export city. Cali also benefits from being in the most central region of Colombia, enabling the city to serve the domestic market at the most competitive logistics costs. Its location is in the same time zone as the east coast of the US, making it a desirable destination for outsourcing services from North American companies.

Brisbane is perfectly placed to embrace the increasing fusion of property and technology to attract investment

Adrian Schrinner, lord mayor, Brisbane

Proptech: Brisbane Marketing, Australia

Brisbane is embracing property technology as an emerging global growth sector, utilising the city’s cluster of relevant global and local businesses and growing demand for residential and commercial property to drive investment in the local property industry. By looking at attracting investment through the increasing amalgamation of real estate and technology, Brisbane is highlighting how the city is looking to capitalise on emerging industries in innovative ways.

Editor’s Choice Award

Tapping new source markets

World Business Chicago, US

Japan-Chicago relations and related FDI had a watershed year in 2018. Despite a long tradition of largely industrial Japanese investment in the suburbs, it was agreed that World Business Chicago (WBC) needed to boost Chicago's profile. WBC conducted extensive groundwork with the Japanese government and business groups to both host Japanese missions and conduct an outbound mission. In July 2018, the then mayor, Rahm Emanuel, led a 50-strong business and government delegation to the world’s second and third largest economies, China and Japan, respectively, in July 2018.

Several Japanese job-creating investments were secured, including Beam Suntory’s headquarters relocation from Deerfield to downtown Chicago. In addition, the first-of-its-kind Japan-Chicago Partnership Agreement was established to promote mutual investment and strong business ties as well as other tourism and educational agreements. Osaka has also sent official missions to Chicago and was visited by WBC.

Bespoke awards

Academic-industry collaboration

Katowice City Hall, Poland

In 2015, Katowice City Hall established an academy for students, graduates and professionals in co-operation with the Association of Business Services Leaders (ABSL) and three Silesian universities. The ABSL Academy aims to increase the number of candidates available to work in the business services sector. Plans are also under way for ABSL Tech Academy, a new version of the facility focused on training participants in technical skills.

Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency, Poland

The Wrocław Academic Hub is Poland’s first initiative between local government, academia and local businesses. It was established with the aim of cultivating the development of science and university education in Wrocław in co-operation with local businesses. The hub coordinates the Mozart Programme, the goal of which is to support the Wrocław job market by connecting local business to researchers and their intellectual potential.

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, US

With talent one of the major factors in an investor’s decision, collaboration between education institutions and local business leaders has become vital. In Miami, the two meet regularly to discuss skill needs that are then reflected in curriculum changes. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has added 59 new programmes focused on specific sectors, including cybersecurity, gaming and animation and international supply chain management, bringing the total number currently available to 600. An emphasis is also put on internships and apprenticeship, and Miami-Dade College is the first college in Florida to have an apprenticeship programme.

Advocacy

Ignite Fredericton, Canada

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce has advocated on behalf of businesses regarding important policy changes such as the 2018 Workers Compensation Act and business tax reform.

Go Vilnius, Lithuania

In 2017, the Lithuanian government approved an action plan to develop the fintech sector. The plan was revised in 2019 and now includes measures to further improve the legal environment for the sector, increase the demand for fintech products and services, and improve the management of related risks. As a result, the sector has experienced rapid growth and in 2018, the number of fintech companies in Vilnius rose by 56%, from 90 to more than 140.

Aftercare

ProBarranquilla, Colombia

ProBarranquilla has implemented several aftercare initiatives to support investors, including follow-up visits to companies across the city, enabling the organisation to gather information about the factors that encouraged them to locate in the territory, as well as any future projects or reinvestment. In addition, ProBarranquilla introduced an investment climate survey at the end of 2018 to identify opportunities to improve the local business environment. The survey addressed pharma, metalworking and hotel companies and is expected to contribute to the introduction of short- and medium-term public policies by local authorities.

Invest Pacific, Colombia

Invest Pacific has a ‘key account’ programme, which supports established companies in their reinvestment processes. The IPA identifies companies that are most likely to reinvest or establish new operations, then chooses 15 key accounts each year, five for each investment management area (global services, manufacturing and agribusiness, logistics and renewable energies). Each key account is offered a customised programme, creating links with other companies in their sector. At the end of the programme, it is expected that the key account company will reinvest, generating additional visibility for the firm and becoming an ambassador for the region.

Hamilton Economic Development, Canada

As part of Hamilton Economic Development’s ‘Hamilton Calling’ aftercare programme, the team visits about 100 companies each year, offering support to ensure their success. The IPA has a variety of services according to the needs of the company, including help with business-to-business connections, human resources, training programmes, financial services, exporting and marketing. All information gathered is tracked and recorded in a customer relationship management system to ensure continuity, help the agency stay in contact with the company, and to keep it up to date with any relevant programmes or events. In 2018, the organisation also launched ‘Hamilton Fast 40’, a promotional aftercare programme focused on identifying, promoting and retaining the city’s fastest growing businesses. 

Cluster development strategy

Go Vilnius, Lithuania

In 2016, the Bank of Lithuania outlined plans to promote fintech growth in its 2017 to 2020 operational guidelines, including establishing a list of priority investors. These investors would benefit from the bank’s smart e-licensing tool, which makes applying for a licence faster, easier and cheaper.

The e-money or payments licence can be obtained in three months (provided a high-quality application is submitted), making it the fastest pan-European fintech licence to be awarded in the EU, and all applications can be submitted online and in English. There is also a specialised ‘lite’ bank licence for challenger banks, which requires an initial capital requirement of €1m, five times lower than for traditional banks.

Lithuanian institutions have also decided that, unless necessary, they will offer advice and assistance rather than regulatory sanctions to companies during their first year of operations. These efforts have encouraged dramatic growth in fintech, with Vilnius employing more than 2400 specialists in the sector. Currently, most fintech teams are relatively small, but in a recent survey of fintech companies in Lithuania, 88% of respondents said they had planned to expand their presence in 2019.

Education, skills and training

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

In June 2018, the Hong Kong government unveiled its technology talent admission scheme, which aims to attract overseas technology talent in areas such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and robotics. In addition, the HK$500m ($63.88m) technology talent scheme was launched to train and pool technology staff, and through the injection of HK$3bn into the research endowment fund, provide studentships for local students admitted to research postgraduate programmes and subsidise local enterprises on a matching basis for training their staff in advanced manufacturing technologies. The post-doctoral hub programme also provides funding support to qualified companies to recruit up to two post-doctoral talents for R&D work and provide a monthly allowance of HK$32,000 for each post-doctoral talent for up to two years.

Encouraging innovation

Smart Dublin, Ireland

As a result of Smart Dublin’s partnership with innovative telecommunications company Dense Air, an initial 5G testbed network went live in the city’s Docklands area in March 2019. The neutral hosting aspect will make it possible for telecom operators to simply license the required bandwidth needed from the infrastructure, and offer subsequent commercial and residential solutions to their customers. This approach will allow multiple organisations to tap into the massive potential of 5G to power future Internet of Things and smart city use-cases. The initiative marks the first testing of its kind worldwide, in terms of public-private partnership, and potential technical and commercialisation models of neutral hosting.

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The upcoming Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park will give Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem the space to grow as well as offering proximity to China’s supply chain, manufacturing capabilities and talent pool. It will be located in Lok Ma Chau Loop and cover an area of 87 hectares. Companies around the world will benefit from the competitive advantages of both Hong Kong and Shenzhen in innovation and technology and accelerate their access to mainland China. The opening will attract R&D investors from around the world, further reinforcing Hong Kong’s reputation as a global leading innovation hub.

São Paulo Negócios, Brazil

According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015, São Paulo has the largest tech start-up ecosystem in the southern hemisphere, with about 2500 start-ups. The city hosts São Paulo Tech Week (SPTW), an innovation festival that engages large companies, international agencies and start-ups all over the city during a week of activities, events and technological experiences. SPTW’s four editions have already reached more than 150,000 people in more than 500 events and moved more than 15m reais ($3.53m). As of August 2018,  São Paulo has also offered a fiscal incentive programme for the ICT sector, which aims to attract and retain more headquarter projects in this sector to the city, fostering an innovative business and urban environment.

Go Vilnius, Lithuania

A key part of Vilnius’s innovation infrastructure are science valleys, technology parks and sandbox incubators. This includes Vilnius Tech Park, which serves as an ICT start-up hub uniting international startups, tech companies, venture capitalists, accelerators and incubators from across the Baltics and Nordics; the Vilnius City Innovation Industrial Park, which aims to accommodate innovative enterprises developing high value-added technologies and services; and Visoriai Information Technology Park, which serves as an upcoming knowledge economy centre in the field of ICT.

Vilnius also offers a sandbox with more than 1 million square metres of commercial, residential and municipal space for global companies to test and pilot their products at no cost. Launched in 2018, it continues to be the only and the largest project of its scale and kind and Lithuania, represented by the Bank of Lithuania, is the first euro area country to become a member of a global sandbox initiative. Additionally, the Blockchain Centre Vilnius is the first blockchain technology centre in Europe. It connects key stakeholders in Asia, Australia and Europe that aim to unlock the value of using the innovative blockchain technology in business, finance and public administration.

Expat support

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Invest Hong Kong offers a range of facilitation services for its clients, from visa applications, opening bank accounts, to finding spaces in international schools for their expatriate children, and identifying ways of finding the right staff through universities and recruitment agencies.

Incentives

Invest in Bogotá, Colombia

Invest Pacific, Colombia

Invest in Cartagena, Colombia

World Business Chicago, US

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, US

Montreal International, Canada

Quebec International, Canada

City of Santa Clarita, US

Industry 4.0

ACI Medellín, Colombia

Over the past few years, Antioquia’s Industry 4.0 sector has increased by 50%, becoming the second region with new software registries in the country and home to 14% of all IT companies. Kiwi Campus, a start-up providing food deliveries in California, US, using largely autonomous robots called Kiwibots, opened a new location in Medellín due to the city’s innovation ecosystem, which was created by Ruta N and a talent pool of engineers and designers.

International outreach

World Business Chicago, US

World Business Chicago has been recognised for its international outreach initiatives. As mentioned in the Editor's Choice Award, in July 2018 the then mayor, Rahm Emanuel, signed the first ever economic memorandum of understanding between a US city and the Japanese government. In addition, following 2013’s Gateway Cities agreement with eight Chinese cities, Chicago continues to promote itself as a destination for Chinese investment. Mr Emanuel led a delegation to Beijing in July 2018 that included meetings with the vice-president of China, high officials and executives, as well as several new FDI announcements. This has attracted more than $1bn in Chinese FDI since the agreement. London is also a key focus for the organisation, facilitating reciprocal visits by Mr Emanuel and London mayor Sadiq Khan to expand business ties between 2016 and 2019, as well as a mayor-led delegation to London in early 2019. Other agreements made by Chicago include the Mexico City Global Cities Economic Partnership, an economic partnership signed with Tel Aviv-Yafo, and several foreign-domestic university partnerships and incubator partnerships with, among others, London, Osaka, Mexico City and Israel.

Job creation

Quebec International, Canada

In 2018, the labour market in Quebec’s census metropolitan area reached a record high of 452,600 jobs, an increase of 9800 compared with the previous year and equivalent to a 2.2% increase in annual employment. The labour force grew by 8500 individuals exceeding the 470,000 mark, a previously unsurpassed level.

Language training

Invest Pacific, Colombia

The Go Cali programme was launched to provide short-term improvements in the standards of English among public school students and teachers in the city, and trained 2000 students in 2018. Additionally, the English For Work programme in Cali is in the bidding stage.

Place branding

Orlando Economic Partnership, US

Orlando Economic Partnership’s regional branding initiative aims to increase investor awareness of the city’s strengths as a business location outside of tourism and hospitality. The organisation is seeing positive results from targeting out-of-area business decision-makers, highlighting regional strengths in a series of high-wage targeted industries and better positioning itself to increase job quality. The campaign is also focused on talent recruitment by utilising Orlando’s population growth. For many years now, the region has seen positive inward migration, adding 1000 people per week, and one in every nine residents has moved to the region since 2010, half of whom moved from an international location. Through this campaign, the organisation is actively targeting workers for its targeted industries.

Project wins

Invest Victoria, Australia

In March 2019, US-based Praxis Precision Medicines, a biotech company focused on precision medicine in genetically defined epilepsy, autism and mental illnesses, announced it will establish its Asia-Pacific headquarters and R&D centre in Melbourne. The company cited the high quality of scientific and clinical talent and the important investments made by the Victorian government as its reasons for investing.

Montreal International, Canada

In January 2019, Japan-based mobility supplier Denso opened a North American satellite R&D lab in Montreal. Montreal International (MI) largely influenced the company’s decision, which had initially planned to expand in the US. MI’s FDI team first heard about the company’s plans to open labs in the US through the Canadian consulate in Detroit, then discovered Denso would be attending the Movin’ On Summit, the world summit on sustainable mobility, in Montreal in mid-2018. MI contacted the company in advance and organised 18 meetings with the artificial intelligence community. The company recognised the talent and innovation in Montreal and decided it was the most attractive investment destination.

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, US

In May 2018, investment management firm Alliance Bernstein revealed plans to move its global headquarters from New York to Nashville bringing more than 1000 high-wage financial services jobs; in October of the same year, EY announced a 600-strong financial services tech centre in Nashville; and in November, Amazon said it was to open an operations centre of excellence in the city creating 5000 jobs. These major announcements helped cement Nashville’s status as a corporate relocation destination.

R&D support

Quebec International, Canada

Measures offered by the governments of Quebec and Canada combined allow businesses to reduce their R&D costs by 29% or more.

Toronto Global, Canada

Companies in the Toronto region benefit from one of the most generous R&D tax incentive programmes in the world. By combining Canada’s flagship scientific research and experimental development tax credit programme with supplementary provincial programmes, Canadian- and non-Canadian-controlled corporations with permanent establishments in Ontario are eligible for tax relief equivalent to between 14% and 65% of total R&D spend. Qualifying expenditures include labour, materials, overhead costs, and 80% of payments to contractors, and third parties. In addition, the Ontario business-research institute tax credit is a refundable tax credit for qualifying R&D performed in Ontario under contract with eligible research institutes. The tax credit is valued at 20% of qualifying expenditures to a maximum of C$4m ($3.01m) annually.

Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency, Poland

Poland's Wrocław is the city with the largest number of IT and R&D entities in Poland, including Atos, Dolby, Nokia, Viessman and Whirlpool. It supports these companies through various initiatives including Wrocław Research Centre EIT+, the first research and technology organisation in Poland, which features state-of-the-art labs and equipment operated by an international team of specialists. R&D companies can also benefit from Wrocław Technology Park, which offers labs, office space and advisory support.

Through our social media strategy, we present the city to the world and share the advantages it offers for the installation of companies

Alejandro Char, mayor, Barranquilla

Staff training and performance management

ProBarranquilla, Colombia

ProBarranquilla organises the Barranquilla Investment Conference, an annual event that provides key training in FDI trends and best practices for FDI attraction and facilitation. The workshop has been led by international firms such as fDi Intelligence, Wavteq and OCO Global and is available for IPAs across Latin America. ProBarranquilla also trains staff in data platforms to identify investment opportunities and participates in webinars organised by ProColombia on regulations, sectorial opportunities and foreign trade. The organisation also has strategic indicators in place to measure the effectiveness of its investment promotion activities.

Uruguay XXI, Uruguay

In 2017, Uruguay XXI introduced a customer relationship management programme to track actions carried out by the agency. This system allows the organisation to identify which companies are interested in investing in Uruguay, what type of information is requested, to evaluate the link between the agency and the company, how the contact is generated, and the sector of interest. It also identifies which investment opportunities and which contacts were originated from each event/action organised by the agency. A document of best practices is also being prepared with the objective of identifying good practices, recommendations and results in the promotion of prioritised sectors as well as a pilot plan to analyse the effectiveness of the agency’s investment promotion events.

Start-up and SME support

Burlington Economic Development Corporation, Canada

In June 2017, Burlington Economic Development Corporation launched TechPlace, an 800-square-metre innovation centre dedicated to connecting, developing and advancing entrepreneurs by offering access to space, programming, mentorship and networking. TechSpace is anchored by two co-location partners, Haltech and Angel One Investor Network, and it is home to six LaunchPad office spaces, which are available to scaleable, growth-oriented tech companies on six-month terms for a subsidised rate. TechPlace also has a soft-landing programme to reduce the risk for international companies that are looking to expand into Canada. The centre is currently at full occupancy and has a waiting list.

Ignite Fredericton, Canada

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce has developed the Hive, a newcomer entrepreneurial incubator, as well as a business immigration mentorship programme that provides counselling to newcomer entrepreneurs on the country’s best business practices, cultures, laws and regulations. Fredericton is also the only city in New Brunswick to offer the new Canadian start-up visa programme, which offers talented immigrant entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch their innovative business in Canada while gaining permanent residency through the Planet Hatch business incubator.

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

StartmeupHK is a worldwide initiative launched by Invest Hong Kong in 2013 that aims to help founders of innovative and scalable start-ups from across the world to set up or expand in Hong Kong through incubation and acceleration programmes, government funding schemes, co-working spaces and entrepreneur associations. StartmeupHK launched a one-stop web portal and staged or sponsored events and roundtables in Tokyo, Osaka, Amsterdam, Bangalore, Toronto and Vancouver in 2019. Invest Hong Kong also organises the annual week-long StartmeupHK Festival, which in 2019 attracted 17,000 participants and 300 speakers from 54 countries. Preparation is already under way for an even larger festival in 2020.

New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

New York's Entrepreneurship Lab supports early-career professionals in forming new biotech and healthtech ventures through mentorship and connecting them to venture capitalists, philanthropists, medical clinics, and non-profit foundations, while a $150m life sciences fund supports the development of fast-growing therapeutic and non-therapeutic companies. Early-stage companies can join BioLabs@NYULangone, a 4645-square-metre biotech co-working facility and accelerator, while established companies can use the Alexandria Centre, a 102,195-square-metre lab and office space. In smart city technology, the Urban Future Lab is an incubator space for emerging smart city start-ups, while the UrbanTech NYC at Company (formally known as Grand Central Tech) and New Lab are larger facilities for growth-stage software and hardware companies.

Invest Porto, Portugal

The ScaleUp Porto initiative supports tech communities and new companies by providing knowledge, access to talent, customers and funding. In addition, the international co-investment fund promotes the attraction of venture capital funds in Portugal, originating from international multilateral institutions. The fund provides for a public contribution which, together with private investment, allows co-investment of up to €50m. Financial support lines are also available – including one for start-ups and microenterprises less than four years old that have a minimum of 15% of equity funding – with an allocation of €10m as well as co-financing lines with incubators and accelerators. Portugal Ventures’s Call MVP scheme invests between €300,000 and €1m in innovative, science-based and technological projects with significant global potential in the digital, life sciences and engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Supporting science and research

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government is providing HK$10bn ($1.28bn) in dedicated funding to develop two research clusters in healthcare technologies and artificial intelligence and robotics. The Institut Pasteur from France, as well as the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health and the Institute of Automation in Beijing under the Chinese Academy of Sciences have expressed interest in joining the clusters at Hong Kong Science Park to work in collaboration with local universities and research institutions. In addition, the University of Hong Kong and the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences agreed to set up a joint laboratory of instrumentation for precision medicine in December 2018. In September 2018, the ‘Arrangement on enhancing innovation and technology co-operation between the mainland and Hong Kong’ was signed as a framework for the two parties to develop various IT co-operation initiatives in the coming few years in areas including scientific research and the nurturing of talents. As part of the plan, a joint laboratory funding scheme will be set up for the provision of one-off research grants up to HK$30m.

IPA of the Year

Winner: Go Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuania’s Go Vilnius is fDi’s IPA of the Year, capping off an extremely successful year for the city. The Lithuanian capital came first in fDi’s Tech Start-up FDI Attraction Index 2019 and performed well in both the Smart and Fintech Locations of the Future 2019/20 rankings.

 

Download a PDF of these awards here: 

According to data from greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets, FDI into Vilnius has steadily increased since 2014, culminating in a record 45 projects in 2018, representing $864m in capital investment and more than 5000 jobs. This was the city’s most successful year since fDi Markets began recording data in 2003.

Go Vilnius works to ensure the city punches above its weight – especially in tech-driven sectors – through a well-coordinated approach that encourages innovation. The organisation has a three-point strategy for attracting investors.

First, it provides direct support for international companies looking for qualified foreign talent through its online relocation guide, ‘Welcome to Vilnius’ workshops and direct individual consultations. Second, it keeps in regular contact with investors to assess their situation and collect feedback on potential areas for improvement through meetings, an annual investor survey and ad hoc problem solving. Third, it takes an industry-specific approach in aftercare initiatives, not only working with individual companies, but also reaching out to specific sectors.

I am truly happy that awareness of the city for investment and relocation is growing each year

Remigijus Simasius, mayor, Vlinius

Currently, in co-operation with the laser sector, Go Vilnius aims to develop city infrastructure improvements using laser technology and raise awareness about the global achievements of the laser industry in Lithuania. Similar initiatives are planned for the future in sectors such as fintech and biotechnology.

Go Vilnius also follows the principle of integrating digital, smart and intelligent solutions into all of its activities, with R&D-intensive technology sectors among its key industries. Investors benefit from the municipality’s open data policy and Go Vilnius’s partnership with Vilnius University to engage with students from its international masters programme. The students were given an authentic case study and are now working with Go Vilnius on a project aimed at establishing Vilnius Makerspace, an open place where tech professionals and artists can collaborate on creative projects.

Highly commended: New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has a team of more than 50 full-time staff dedicated to promoting and facilitating inward investment. This includes providing financial and real estate incentives, and promoting entrepreneurship and economic diversification across the city.

NYCEDC has implemented numerous industry initiatives including: IN2NYC, the US’s first municipally led programme designed to help international entrepreneurs access visas; the Digital Health Marketplace, which has made more than 900 matches between start-ups and prospective New York hospital and healthcare provider clients; and CyberNYC, a catalytic $100m investment to grow the city’s cybersecurity ecosystem through an innovative suite of public-private partnerships.

The organisation is also behind infrastructure developments such as the Made in NY Campus at Bush Terminal, which will form a focus point for creative manufacturing in New York and provide affordable, best-in-class industrial facilities for garment manufacturing, film and media production, and related services and industries.

The city is investing $136m in major renovations to create a 18,580-square-metre garment manufacturing hub, a 9290-square-metre state-of-the-art film and television production facility, and numerous pedestrian and infrastructure improvements.

Best IPA web strategy

Winner: Montreal International, Canada

Montreal International’s (MI's) website is a key element in the organisation’s marketing and communication strategy. It features exclusive high-value content including a business blog with more than 35,000 views in the past year, success stories, promotional videos and testimonials. The home page can be accessed in nine different languages and several microsites are dedicated to the region’s key audiences, such as those working in life sciences and health technologies.

In addition, investors can benefit from Zoom Greater Montreal, a project initiated by the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (Montreal metropolitan area), in partnership with MI, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal and CargoM. The web portal allows users to search for office space and industrial or commercial properties for rent or for sale in the region using GIS technology. MI also has a strong social media presence with 30,000 subscribers across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and 10,000 subscribers to its monthly newsletter.

Best social media strategy

Winner: ProBarranquilla, Colombia

ProBarranquilla’s #YoSoyProBarranquilla initiative aims to promote the city as an ideal business and investment destination. It seeks to highlight Barranquilla’s advantages, opportunities and experiences not only from those living in the city, but also those of locals living abroad. In 2018, the hashtag reached 400,000 people and was used in more than 500 Instagram posts. In addition, the #30Hechos hashtag was created to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ProBarranquilla. Throughout 2018, different posts were made to highlight the organisation’s impact. In total, 30 posts were published, reaching more than 50,000 people.

Winner: Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Invest Hong Kong’s comprehensive social media strategy includes heavy use of video for online promotion. The organisation regularly uploads videos onto its dedicated YouTube channel, corporate website and other social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and Weibo. Invest Hong Kong also regularly posts news across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and uses a variety of online benchmarking and content management tools such as Google Analytics, Google Webmaster, Hootsuite and Alexa.com to assess the impact of its marketing-driven initiatives and the success of website traffic-driving programmes. In 2017, the organisation opened a WeChat account to promote Hong Kong as an FDI destination for investors from mainland China.

Best marketing slogan

Winner: Orlando Economic Partnership, US

'Orlando. You don’t know the half of it.'

Specialisms

Advanced manufacturing: Hamilton Economic Development, Canada

Well known as a hub for advanced manufacturing in Canada, Hamilton employs more than 50,000 people. It is home to Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, a non-profit organisation dedicated to driving advanced manufacturing nationwide by matching manufacturing companies with new technologies. R&D support is also available through McMaster University, Mohawk College, McMaster Automotive Resource Centre and CanmetMaterials, Canada’s largest research centre dedicated to fabricating, processing and evaluating metals and materials.

Aerospace: City of Mississauga, Canada

Mississauga is home to more than 340 aerospace companies with 28,000 employees, as well as the largest aerospace cluster in Canada by employment. The city’s aerospace manufacturing sub-sector is also the largest across all major Canadian centres by total employment and number of businesses.

Agribusiness: Brisbane Marketing, Australia

The Brisbane Future Food Initiative aims to enhance the city’s capability to build, scale and grow food ventures. It features a dedicated accelerator programme, which has supported the growth of 20 companies who collectively have created more than 30 jobs in the first 18 months of the initiative and returned an average revenue growth of 12%. In addition, Brisbane Marketing will launch a new programme aimed at linking industry, entrepreneurs and research innovation to encourage new businesses.

Artificial intelligence: Montreal International, Canada

Montreal has established itself as a major global hub for artificial intelligence (AI). The city has the highest concentration of deep-learning researchers in the world and is home to the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms and the Institute for Data Valorisation. Recent government and private investments amount to C$1.1bn ($827.78m), and more than 90 global companies and start-ups have established operations in the city including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and IBM. Supported by the Quebec government, Montreal International announced plans to create an international observatory on the societal impacts of AI and digital technologies in December 2018.

Bioenergy: Invest Pacific, Colombia

Valle del Cauca is Colombia’s leading region for bioenergy production. It contributes more than 90% of the bioethanol produced in Colombia and more than 98% of the cogeneration of national electricity from biomass. There is potential for companies that seek to take advantage of the transformation of biomass generated from sources such as sugar cane residues, forest residues and solid and animal waste.

Blockchain: New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

New York is experiencing explosive growth in its blockchain ecosystem, with a 370% increase in blockchain-related jobs from 2016 to 2018. The city is home to several of the world’s largest blockchain companies including IBM, R3 and Coinbase. Meanwhile, initiatives such as the annual Blockchain Week around Consensus, the industry’s largest conference, and the NYC BigApps Blockchain Challenge, further bolster the city’s reputation as a global leader in blockchain innovation. The NYC Blockchain Centre, operated by Future/Perfect Labs and the Global Blockchain Business Council, opened in January 2019 and is New York’s first public-private blockchain centre.

BPO: Invest in Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá is home to 62% of Colombia’s shared service centres and 81% of its IT and BPO companies, accounting for more than 40% of national employment. The city is an attractive investment destination for the BPO industry, given its competitive costs, strategic nearshore/offshore locations and more than 40,000 students in IT-related fields. Online retailer Amazon opened a regional customer service centre in Bogotá in October 2018, creating 600 jobs.

Chemicals: Invest in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena in Bolívar is a leader in the production and export of petrochemical products in Colombia, with 81.5% of exports and 72.5% of Bolívar’s imports coming from petrochemical-plastic industry products. The petrochemical-plastic cluster represents 63% of the added value of the local industry. Cartagena also has the most modern petroleum refinery in Latin America, with a production capacity of 165,000 barrels per day, as well as the most efficient, safe and modern port infrastructure in the country.

Creative industries: ACI Medellín, Colombia

Creative industries are one of the priority sectors in Medellín’s new economic development policy, representing 1.5% of Antioquia’s GDP in 2017. Medellín’s creative sector consists of more than 1690 companies; 99% of which are micro and small companies involved in activities related to music, television, design, photography, jewellery, theatre, cinema, radio and the plastic arts. In addition, Medellín is the only city in Colombia with a film commission, and offers 15% additional incentives to those offered by the national government.

Cybersecurity: Ignite Fredericton, Canada

Ignite Fredericton, in partnership with Opportunities NB and Cyber NB, has helped solidify the capital of New Brunswick's status as a cybersecurity hub through the construction of critical physical infrastructure and the implementation of workforce development initiatives. In partnership with Cyber NB, the University of New Brunswick and Opportunities NB, Ignite Fredericton’s Knowledge Park is establishing a 12,540-square-metre Cyber Park facility dedicated to accommodating the city’s growing cybersecurity sector. Cyber Park's estimated contribution within its first decade of operation is estimated to contribute 7500 new jobs (direct and indirect) to Fredericton and $230m to the region’s GDP (direct and indirect).

Data centres: Montreal International, Canada

Named ‘Data Centre Location of the Year’ at the Datacloud Global Awards 2019, Greater Montréal has quickly become a key hub for data hosting and processing services. Investors benefit from the region’s cool climate, reliable and affordable renewable energy resources, favourable business climate and major ICT industry.

Gaming and visual effects: Montreal International, Canada

Montreal is the world’s fifth largest gaming production centre and home to more than 140 studios, including industry giants Ubisoft, Warner, Eidos and Gameloft. As of 2018, more than 10,000 full-time employees work in video games in Quebec, accounting for more than half of the country’s jobs in the industry. The city is also a global hub for visual effects and has the highest industry concentration in Canada, with companies including Cinesite, Digital Dimension, Double Negative, Framestore, Hybride, Mathematic Studios and Rodeo FX.

Life Sciences: New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

The New York metropolitan area has the largest bioscience workforce in the US and the world’s largest concentration of academic institutions. The city has announced a 10-year, $500m plan named LifeSciNYC to further support the sector by creating new laboratory space, investing in its workforce, and forging industry partnerships. It is expected to attract $6.5bn in total private investment and construction. As part of the initiative, the city has committed $100m in capital and identified potential development sites in East Harlem, Long Island and Kips Bay for the creation of a world-class hub for life sciences R&D.

Logistics: Invest Pacific, Colombia

Colombia’s only multimodal logistics platform on the Pacific Ocean is in Cali, making it a renowned export city. Cali also benefits from being in the most central region of Colombia, enabling the city to serve the domestic market at the most competitive logistics costs. Its location is in the same time zone as the east coast of the US, making it a desirable destination for outsourcing services from North American companies.

Brisbane is perfectly placed to embrace the increasing fusion of property and technology to attract investment

Adrian Schrinner, lord mayor, Brisbane

Proptech: Brisbane Marketing, Australia

Brisbane is embracing property technology as an emerging global growth sector, utilising the city’s cluster of relevant global and local businesses and growing demand for residential and commercial property to drive investment in the local property industry. By looking at attracting investment through the increasing amalgamation of real estate and technology, Brisbane is highlighting how the city is looking to capitalise on emerging industries in innovative ways.

Editor’s Choice Award

Tapping new source markets

World Business Chicago, US

Japan-Chicago relations and related FDI had a watershed year in 2018. Despite a long tradition of largely industrial Japanese investment in the suburbs, it was agreed that World Business Chicago (WBC) needed to boost Chicago's profile. WBC conducted extensive groundwork with the Japanese government and business groups to both host Japanese missions and conduct an outbound mission. In July 2018, the then mayor, Rahm Emanuel, led a 50-strong business and government delegation to the world’s second and third largest economies, China and Japan, respectively, in July 2018.

Several Japanese job-creating investments were secured, including Beam Suntory’s headquarters relocation from Deerfield to downtown Chicago. In addition, the first-of-its-kind Japan-Chicago Partnership Agreement was established to promote mutual investment and strong business ties as well as other tourism and educational agreements. Osaka has also sent official missions to Chicago and was visited by WBC.

Bespoke awards

Academic-industry collaboration

Katowice City Hall, Poland

In 2015, Katowice City Hall established an academy for students, graduates and professionals in co-operation with the Association of Business Services Leaders (ABSL) and three Silesian universities. The ABSL Academy aims to increase the number of candidates available to work in the business services sector. Plans are also under way for ABSL Tech Academy, a new version of the facility focused on training participants in technical skills.

Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency, Poland

The Wrocław Academic Hub is Poland’s first initiative between local government, academia and local businesses. It was established with the aim of cultivating the development of science and university education in Wrocław in co-operation with local businesses. The hub coordinates the Mozart Programme, the goal of which is to support the Wrocław job market by connecting local business to researchers and their intellectual potential.

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, US

With talent one of the major factors in an investor’s decision, collaboration between education institutions and local business leaders has become vital. In Miami, the two meet regularly to discuss skill needs that are then reflected in curriculum changes. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has added 59 new programmes focused on specific sectors, including cybersecurity, gaming and animation and international supply chain management, bringing the total number currently available to 600. An emphasis is also put on internships and apprenticeship, and Miami-Dade College is the first college in Florida to have an apprenticeship programme.

Advocacy

Ignite Fredericton, Canada

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce has advocated on behalf of businesses regarding important policy changes such as the 2018 Workers Compensation Act and business tax reform.

Go Vilnius, Lithuania

In 2017, the Lithuanian government approved an action plan to develop the fintech sector. The plan was revised in 2019 and now includes measures to further improve the legal environment for the sector, increase the demand for fintech products and services, and improve the management of related risks. As a result, the sector has experienced rapid growth and in 2018, the number of fintech companies in Vilnius rose by 56%, from 90 to more than 140.

Aftercare

ProBarranquilla, Colombia

ProBarranquilla has implemented several aftercare initiatives to support investors, including follow-up visits to companies across the city, enabling the organisation to gather information about the factors that encouraged them to locate in the territory, as well as any future projects or reinvestment. In addition, ProBarranquilla introduced an investment climate survey at the end of 2018 to identify opportunities to improve the local business environment. The survey addressed pharma, metalworking and hotel companies and is expected to contribute to the introduction of short- and medium-term public policies by local authorities.

Invest Pacific, Colombia

Invest Pacific has a ‘key account’ programme, which supports established companies in their reinvestment processes. The IPA identifies companies that are most likely to reinvest or establish new operations, then chooses 15 key accounts each year, five for each investment management area (global services, manufacturing and agribusiness, logistics and renewable energies). Each key account is offered a customised programme, creating links with other companies in their sector. At the end of the programme, it is expected that the key account company will reinvest, generating additional visibility for the firm and becoming an ambassador for the region.

Hamilton Economic Development, Canada

As part of Hamilton Economic Development’s ‘Hamilton Calling’ aftercare programme, the team visits about 100 companies each year, offering support to ensure their success. The IPA has a variety of services according to the needs of the company, including help with business-to-business connections, human resources, training programmes, financial services, exporting and marketing. All information gathered is tracked and recorded in a customer relationship management system to ensure continuity, help the agency stay in contact with the company, and to keep it up to date with any relevant programmes or events. In 2018, the organisation also launched ‘Hamilton Fast 40’, a promotional aftercare programme focused on identifying, promoting and retaining the city’s fastest growing businesses. 

Cluster development strategy

Go Vilnius, Lithuania

In 2016, the Bank of Lithuania outlined plans to promote fintech growth in its 2017 to 2020 operational guidelines, including establishing a list of priority investors. These investors would benefit from the bank’s smart e-licensing tool, which makes applying for a licence faster, easier and cheaper.

The e-money or payments licence can be obtained in three months (provided a high-quality application is submitted), making it the fastest pan-European fintech licence to be awarded in the EU, and all applications can be submitted online and in English. There is also a specialised ‘lite’ bank licence for challenger banks, which requires an initial capital requirement of €1m, five times lower than for traditional banks.

Lithuanian institutions have also decided that, unless necessary, they will offer advice and assistance rather than regulatory sanctions to companies during their first year of operations. These efforts have encouraged dramatic growth in fintech, with Vilnius employing more than 2400 specialists in the sector. Currently, most fintech teams are relatively small, but in a recent survey of fintech companies in Lithuania, 88% of respondents said they had planned to expand their presence in 2019.

Education, skills and training

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

In June 2018, the Hong Kong government unveiled its technology talent admission scheme, which aims to attract overseas technology talent in areas such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and robotics. In addition, the HK$500m ($63.88m) technology talent scheme was launched to train and pool technology staff, and through the injection of HK$3bn into the research endowment fund, provide studentships for local students admitted to research postgraduate programmes and subsidise local enterprises on a matching basis for training their staff in advanced manufacturing technologies. The post-doctoral hub programme also provides funding support to qualified companies to recruit up to two post-doctoral talents for R&D work and provide a monthly allowance of HK$32,000 for each post-doctoral talent for up to two years.

Encouraging innovation

Smart Dublin, Ireland

As a result of Smart Dublin’s partnership with innovative telecommunications company Dense Air, an initial 5G testbed network went live in the city’s Docklands area in March 2019. The neutral hosting aspect will make it possible for telecom operators to simply license the required bandwidth needed from the infrastructure, and offer subsequent commercial and residential solutions to their customers. This approach will allow multiple organisations to tap into the massive potential of 5G to power future Internet of Things and smart city use-cases. The initiative marks the first testing of its kind worldwide, in terms of public-private partnership, and potential technical and commercialisation models of neutral hosting.

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The upcoming Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park will give Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem the space to grow as well as offering proximity to China’s supply chain, manufacturing capabilities and talent pool. It will be located in Lok Ma Chau Loop and cover an area of 87 hectares. Companies around the world will benefit from the competitive advantages of both Hong Kong and Shenzhen in innovation and technology and accelerate their access to mainland China. The opening will attract R&D investors from around the world, further reinforcing Hong Kong’s reputation as a global leading innovation hub.

São Paulo Negócios, Brazil

According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015, São Paulo has the largest tech start-up ecosystem in the southern hemisphere, with about 2500 start-ups. The city hosts São Paulo Tech Week (SPTW), an innovation festival that engages large companies, international agencies and start-ups all over the city during a week of activities, events and technological experiences. SPTW’s four editions have already reached more than 150,000 people in more than 500 events and moved more than 15m reais ($3.53m). As of August 2018,  São Paulo has also offered a fiscal incentive programme for the ICT sector, which aims to attract and retain more headquarter projects in this sector to the city, fostering an innovative business and urban environment.

Go Vilnius, Lithuania

A key part of Vilnius’s innovation infrastructure are science valleys, technology parks and sandbox incubators. This includes Vilnius Tech Park, which serves as an ICT start-up hub uniting international startups, tech companies, venture capitalists, accelerators and incubators from across the Baltics and Nordics; the Vilnius City Innovation Industrial Park, which aims to accommodate innovative enterprises developing high value-added technologies and services; and Visoriai Information Technology Park, which serves as an upcoming knowledge economy centre in the field of ICT.

Vilnius also offers a sandbox with more than 1 million square metres of commercial, residential and municipal space for global companies to test and pilot their products at no cost. Launched in 2018, it continues to be the only and the largest project of its scale and kind and Lithuania, represented by the Bank of Lithuania, is the first euro area country to become a member of a global sandbox initiative. Additionally, the Blockchain Centre Vilnius is the first blockchain technology centre in Europe. It connects key stakeholders in Asia, Australia and Europe that aim to unlock the value of using the innovative blockchain technology in business, finance and public administration.

Expat support

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Invest Hong Kong offers a range of facilitation services for its clients, from visa applications, opening bank accounts, to finding spaces in international schools for their expatriate children, and identifying ways of finding the right staff through universities and recruitment agencies.

Incentives

Invest in Bogotá, Colombia

Invest Pacific, Colombia

Invest in Cartagena, Colombia

World Business Chicago, US

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, US

Montreal International, Canada

Quebec International, Canada

City of Santa Clarita, US

Industry 4.0

ACI Medellín, Colombia

Over the past few years, Antioquia’s Industry 4.0 sector has increased by 50%, becoming the second region with new software registries in the country and home to 14% of all IT companies. Kiwi Campus, a start-up providing food deliveries in California, US, using largely autonomous robots called Kiwibots, opened a new location in Medellín due to the city’s innovation ecosystem, which was created by Ruta N and a talent pool of engineers and designers.

International outreach

World Business Chicago, US

World Business Chicago has been recognised for its international outreach initiatives. As mentioned in the Editor's Choice Award, in July 2018 the then mayor, Rahm Emanuel, signed the first ever economic memorandum of understanding between a US city and the Japanese government. In addition, following 2013’s Gateway Cities agreement with eight Chinese cities, Chicago continues to promote itself as a destination for Chinese investment. Mr Emanuel led a delegation to Beijing in July 2018 that included meetings with the vice-president of China, high officials and executives, as well as several new FDI announcements. This has attracted more than $1bn in Chinese FDI since the agreement. London is also a key focus for the organisation, facilitating reciprocal visits by Mr Emanuel and London mayor Sadiq Khan to expand business ties between 2016 and 2019, as well as a mayor-led delegation to London in early 2019. Other agreements made by Chicago include the Mexico City Global Cities Economic Partnership, an economic partnership signed with Tel Aviv-Yafo, and several foreign-domestic university partnerships and incubator partnerships with, among others, London, Osaka, Mexico City and Israel.

Job creation

Quebec International, Canada

In 2018, the labour market in Quebec’s census metropolitan area reached a record high of 452,600 jobs, an increase of 9800 compared with the previous year and equivalent to a 2.2% increase in annual employment. The labour force grew by 8500 individuals exceeding the 470,000 mark, a previously unsurpassed level.

Language training

Invest Pacific, Colombia

The Go Cali programme was launched to provide short-term improvements in the standards of English among public school students and teachers in the city, and trained 2000 students in 2018. Additionally, the English For Work programme in Cali is in the bidding stage.

Place branding

Orlando Economic Partnership, US

Orlando Economic Partnership’s regional branding initiative aims to increase investor awareness of the city’s strengths as a business location outside of tourism and hospitality. The organisation is seeing positive results from targeting out-of-area business decision-makers, highlighting regional strengths in a series of high-wage targeted industries and better positioning itself to increase job quality. The campaign is also focused on talent recruitment by utilising Orlando’s population growth. For many years now, the region has seen positive inward migration, adding 1000 people per week, and one in every nine residents has moved to the region since 2010, half of whom moved from an international location. Through this campaign, the organisation is actively targeting workers for its targeted industries.

Project wins

Invest Victoria, Australia

In March 2019, US-based Praxis Precision Medicines, a biotech company focused on precision medicine in genetically defined epilepsy, autism and mental illnesses, announced it will establish its Asia-Pacific headquarters and R&D centre in Melbourne. The company cited the high quality of scientific and clinical talent and the important investments made by the Victorian government as its reasons for investing.

Montreal International, Canada

In January 2019, Japan-based mobility supplier Denso opened a North American satellite R&D lab in Montreal. Montreal International (MI) largely influenced the company’s decision, which had initially planned to expand in the US. MI’s FDI team first heard about the company’s plans to open labs in the US through the Canadian consulate in Detroit, then discovered Denso would be attending the Movin’ On Summit, the world summit on sustainable mobility, in Montreal in mid-2018. MI contacted the company in advance and organised 18 meetings with the artificial intelligence community. The company recognised the talent and innovation in Montreal and decided it was the most attractive investment destination.

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, US

In May 2018, investment management firm Alliance Bernstein revealed plans to move its global headquarters from New York to Nashville bringing more than 1000 high-wage financial services jobs; in October of the same year, EY announced a 600-strong financial services tech centre in Nashville; and in November, Amazon said it was to open an operations centre of excellence in the city creating 5000 jobs. These major announcements helped cement Nashville’s status as a corporate relocation destination.

R&D support

Quebec International, Canada

Measures offered by the governments of Quebec and Canada combined allow businesses to reduce their R&D costs by 29% or more.

Toronto Global, Canada

Companies in the Toronto region benefit from one of the most generous R&D tax incentive programmes in the world. By combining Canada’s flagship scientific research and experimental development tax credit programme with supplementary provincial programmes, Canadian- and non-Canadian-controlled corporations with permanent establishments in Ontario are eligible for tax relief equivalent to between 14% and 65% of total R&D spend. Qualifying expenditures include labour, materials, overhead costs, and 80% of payments to contractors, and third parties. In addition, the Ontario business-research institute tax credit is a refundable tax credit for qualifying R&D performed in Ontario under contract with eligible research institutes. The tax credit is valued at 20% of qualifying expenditures to a maximum of C$4m ($3.01m) annually.

Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency, Poland

Poland's Wrocław is the city with the largest number of IT and R&D entities in Poland, including Atos, Dolby, Nokia, Viessman and Whirlpool. It supports these companies through various initiatives including Wrocław Research Centre EIT+, the first research and technology organisation in Poland, which features state-of-the-art labs and equipment operated by an international team of specialists. R&D companies can also benefit from Wrocław Technology Park, which offers labs, office space and advisory support.

Through our social media strategy, we present the city to the world and share the advantages it offers for the installation of companies

Alejandro Char, mayor, Barranquilla

Staff training and performance management

ProBarranquilla, Colombia

ProBarranquilla organises the Barranquilla Investment Conference, an annual event that provides key training in FDI trends and best practices for FDI attraction and facilitation. The workshop has been led by international firms such as fDi Intelligence, Wavteq and OCO Global and is available for IPAs across Latin America. ProBarranquilla also trains staff in data platforms to identify investment opportunities and participates in webinars organised by ProColombia on regulations, sectorial opportunities and foreign trade. The organisation also has strategic indicators in place to measure the effectiveness of its investment promotion activities.

Uruguay XXI, Uruguay

In 2017, Uruguay XXI introduced a customer relationship management programme to track actions carried out by the agency. This system allows the organisation to identify which companies are interested in investing in Uruguay, what type of information is requested, to evaluate the link between the agency and the company, how the contact is generated, and the sector of interest. It also identifies which investment opportunities and which contacts were originated from each event/action organised by the agency. A document of best practices is also being prepared with the objective of identifying good practices, recommendations and results in the promotion of prioritised sectors as well as a pilot plan to analyse the effectiveness of the agency’s investment promotion events.

Start-up and SME support

Burlington Economic Development Corporation, Canada

In June 2017, Burlington Economic Development Corporation launched TechPlace, an 800-square-metre innovation centre dedicated to connecting, developing and advancing entrepreneurs by offering access to space, programming, mentorship and networking. TechSpace is anchored by two co-location partners, Haltech and Angel One Investor Network, and it is home to six LaunchPad office spaces, which are available to scaleable, growth-oriented tech companies on six-month terms for a subsidised rate. TechPlace also has a soft-landing programme to reduce the risk for international companies that are looking to expand into Canada. The centre is currently at full occupancy and has a waiting list.

Ignite Fredericton, Canada

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce has developed the Hive, a newcomer entrepreneurial incubator, as well as a business immigration mentorship programme that provides counselling to newcomer entrepreneurs on the country’s best business practices, cultures, laws and regulations. Fredericton is also the only city in New Brunswick to offer the new Canadian start-up visa programme, which offers talented immigrant entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch their innovative business in Canada while gaining permanent residency through the Planet Hatch business incubator.

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

StartmeupHK is a worldwide initiative launched by Invest Hong Kong in 2013 that aims to help founders of innovative and scalable start-ups from across the world to set up or expand in Hong Kong through incubation and acceleration programmes, government funding schemes, co-working spaces and entrepreneur associations. StartmeupHK launched a one-stop web portal and staged or sponsored events and roundtables in Tokyo, Osaka, Amsterdam, Bangalore, Toronto and Vancouver in 2019. Invest Hong Kong also organises the annual week-long StartmeupHK Festival, which in 2019 attracted 17,000 participants and 300 speakers from 54 countries. Preparation is already under way for an even larger festival in 2020.

New York City Economic Development Corporation, US

New York's Entrepreneurship Lab supports early-career professionals in forming new biotech and healthtech ventures through mentorship and connecting them to venture capitalists, philanthropists, medical clinics, and non-profit foundations, while a $150m life sciences fund supports the development of fast-growing therapeutic and non-therapeutic companies. Early-stage companies can join BioLabs@NYULangone, a 4645-square-metre biotech co-working facility and accelerator, while established companies can use the Alexandria Centre, a 102,195-square-metre lab and office space. In smart city technology, the Urban Future Lab is an incubator space for emerging smart city start-ups, while the UrbanTech NYC at Company (formally known as Grand Central Tech) and New Lab are larger facilities for growth-stage software and hardware companies.

Invest Porto, Portugal

The ScaleUp Porto initiative supports tech communities and new companies by providing knowledge, access to talent, customers and funding. In addition, the international co-investment fund promotes the attraction of venture capital funds in Portugal, originating from international multilateral institutions. The fund provides for a public contribution which, together with private investment, allows co-investment of up to €50m. Financial support lines are also available – including one for start-ups and microenterprises less than four years old that have a minimum of 15% of equity funding – with an allocation of €10m as well as co-financing lines with incubators and accelerators. Portugal Ventures’s Call MVP scheme invests between €300,000 and €1m in innovative, science-based and technological projects with significant global potential in the digital, life sciences and engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Supporting science and research

Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government is providing HK$10bn ($1.28bn) in dedicated funding to develop two research clusters in healthcare technologies and artificial intelligence and robotics. The Institut Pasteur from France, as well as the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health and the Institute of Automation in Beijing under the Chinese Academy of Sciences have expressed interest in joining the clusters at Hong Kong Science Park to work in collaboration with local universities and research institutions. In addition, the University of Hong Kong and the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences agreed to set up a joint laboratory of instrumentation for precision medicine in December 2018. In September 2018, the ‘Arrangement on enhancing innovation and technology co-operation between the mainland and Hong Kong’ was signed as a framework for the two parties to develop various IT co-operation initiatives in the coming few years in areas including scientific research and the nurturing of talents. As part of the plan, a joint laboratory funding scheme will be set up for the provision of one-off research grants up to HK$30m.