Plans are in place for a significant increase in staff numbers at state investment agency for Paraná, APD (Paraná Development Agency), which is reaping the rewards of a 55% increase in budget between 2015 and 2016, with plans for a further 20% increase by 2020, and is the winner of fDi's South American States of the Future 2016/17 FDI Strategy award. The agency is currently embarking upon a new digital strategy, to include new analytical and web tools to promote its strengths to potential investors. A new website is under development, which will improve the agency’s online presence and extend and refresh its reach. The agency is currently very active on social media – including on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – and liaises closely with the official government news channel to increase the state’s profile to international investors.

APD is engaged in the organisation of international roadshows and events to showcase and promote the state as an investment destination, and the state also plays host to major investor forums and conferences for South America. A new subway system is currently being constructed in Curitiba, the state’s capital. Additional infrastructure developments are under way, including ‘Project Red Foot’, a new metropolitan train system that will connect 13 cities and will serve nearly 2 million people when completed.

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Colombia’s largest state, Bogotá, has finished second in this year’s study for FDI Strategy. Staff at Invest in Bogota, the state agency for investment promotion, are organised and work in team structures closely aligned to key target sectors for the state, which include BPO, shared services, software and IT and manufacturing industries. 

A special regime for free-trade zones operates in the state, which allows companies to invest in locations benefiting from a preferential tax rate, the duty-free import of raw materials and sector-specific financial incentives. The agency promotes itself through mobile apps across various platforms, as well as through an active presence on its websites and social media accounts. Invest in Bogotá is proactive in planning and attending networking and promotional events, and targets specific markets to this end. The agency also places a focus on aftercare services, to ensure further success in attracting reinvestments and expansions that might result from any initial investments.

An ‘anchor company’ strategy is also in place, which focuses on attracting major investors whose presence in the state will result in cluster activity and will strengthen supply chains. Some major infrastructure developments are under way in the state, including the construction of the first metro line in Bogotá city, while the Bogotá@21 district is set to become a smart district, providing young entrepreneurs and companies a research-focused environment in which to flourish.

São Paulo, fDi’s South American State of the Future for 2016/17, has ranked third for FDI Strategy. The state agency responsible for investment promotion, Investe São Paulo, offers its large workforce training programmes from specialist investment promotion bodies, including the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank, as well as renowned universities. The agency’s website was developed in accordance with the Global Investment Promotion Best Practices Guide from the World Bank, and features a new matchmaking tool – Find a Business Partner – which helps connect entrepreneurs, investors, distributors and supply chain partners. Investe São Paulo keeps potential investors abreast of new developments in the state via a monthly newsletter, and the publication of its annual magazine, which highlights recent investments in the state.