Greater Montreal, which is second overall in the Tier 2 Cities of the Future 2020/21 ranking, claims first place in the FDI strategy category, and Montréal International (MI), the metropolitan area’s economic promotion agency, had a record-breaking year in 2019. Not only did Quebec's largest city enjoy the strongest economic growth of all Canadian cities, but it also witnessed a marked increase in foreign investment.

MI supported 89 foreign companies to set up or expand in the region, representing record investments of C$2.64bn ($1.98bn), up 164% since 2015. Every week during 2019, at least one foreign company chose to establish operations in Greater Montreal – creating more than 7000 direct jobs and maintaining about 350. 

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Targeting locations

MI’s strategy involves targeting priority regions across the US, Europe and Asia and strategic sectors such as video games, artificial intelligence and life sciences. 

Its talent team helps bolster the Greater Montreal talent pool by facilitating international recruitment, making the immigration process easier and helping attract and retain international students.

MI has coordinated more than 50 digital marketing campaigns to promote the city, and overhauled its websites in May 2019 to ensure an immersive experience for potential investors, international organisations, entrepreneurs, talent and students across the globe. Part of the agency’s strategic plan is to double FDI results in the next five years. 

Sustainable operations

Lyon in France is second in the FDI strategy category. The 40-strong Invest in Lyon staff consists of an FDI team of 33 and seven in its ONLYLYON territorial marketing programme. The FDI team’s annual objective is to support and assist more than 100 new companies to establish sustainable and significant operations in the local area, with the aim of creating 2000 direct jobs within three years.

As the promotion agency for a non-capital city, Invest in Lyon has had to hone its investment strategy in order to compete with its European peers. The agency is focused on 12 priority fields including energy, smart manufacturing and logistics, and supported by Lyon’s research and development operations, industry clusters, community experts and partnerships with economic players.

Investors benefit from France’s attractive tax incentive programme and further financial incentives are also available on a local level. In close collaboration with Invest in Lyon, the regional government supports investment projects with industrial facilities granting subsidies of up to 30 % of eligible expenditures, with a cap of €490,000 ($574,722).

Boosting growth

Perth ranks third, with its local government authority, the City of Perth, playing a crucial role in bolstering economic growth in the Western Australian state capital.

The City of Perth, and more specifically the Economic Development Unit, helps promote Perth’s competitive advantages as well as facilitating engagement opportunities with industry-specific and government stakeholders, and attracting investment from interested parties on a local, national and international scale.

Through its network of 11 sister cities and 19 member cities of the World Energy Cities Partnership, the team is also able to leverage relationships to promote FDI opportunities to numerous international stakeholders.