Co-chaired by the mayors of Chicago, Toronto and Miami, the majority of attendees were non-US mayors. Mindful but independent of national and international policies and treaties, the Forum decided that there is much to be gained from sharing approaches to solving similar problems and collaborating on issues that require cross-border solutions.

The mayors swapped case studies and Chicago provided ample opportunities to see policy turned into action. As fDi’s North American City of the Future, Chicago offers remarkable examples of progress.

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In terms of globalisation and its impact on direct investment, three of the key ideas were:

• Non-US cities should consider using the US’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation to help them to close deals with US companies that need to mitigate risks in emerging markets.

• All cities could strengthen their cluster growth strategies by recruiting smaller and younger companies from elsewhere. Now, most locations concentrate on attracting Global 1000 firms at one extreme, and providing seed and venture funding to local start-ups at the other.

• To implement the second idea, cities could consider equity investments as a tool for recruiting small but growing firms. Leverage public sector pension funds to provide some of the resources to create a recruit-through-equity co-investment fund.

Underlying all of the discussions was a commitment to human capital. Mayor Richard Daley said that Chicago secured its position as the City of the Future by assuring that all of its children are enabled to build their own futures there.

Daniel Malachuk works with business and government leaders on global direct investment strategies. He has advised many of the world’s leading companies and served in the public sector as director of White House operations.

E-mail:malachuk@oxford-analytica.com