From Site Selection magazine, May 2019
Too often, newly elected politicians, posturing for their constituencies, publicly ponder cutting funding to investment promotion agencies “to cut government spending.”
Too often, politicians are stupid.
Look on the previous pages at the cities and countries ranked as the Best to Invest, those most successful in attracting investment to their regions. Note how frequently those places recognized as the best places to invest also feature some of the world’s top IPAs. IPAs like Dubai FDI, a permanent fixture in these rankings. While global FDI plummeted by nearly a fifth last year, Dubai’s exploded, increasing by 43%. Does anybody think Dubai FDI didn’t play a major role?
Politicians take note. This is no accident.
We live in a world where technology and access to limitless data have seemingly conspired to make business more impersonal and dispassionate, where fake news out-tweets real reporting, where labor is performed by machine as often as man. In such a de-humanizing world, it’s more critical than ever to recognize the all-too-often underappreciated human beings in investment attraction, the heroes who work tirelessly, out of the limelight, for economic growth and job creation.
Their whole job, their whole reason for being, is to improve the lives and livelihoods of the people they serve. What these folks do matters. Their work is absolutely essential to every community, in every city, in every nation.
Their work creates jobs.
Their work puts food on the tables of families.
Their work ensures the next generation enters the future with equal parts of hope and opportunity.
Their work is critical to the economic well-being — to the future — of the regions they serve. They deserve to be celebrated, and in this section we laud the best of them.
Best of the Best
Investment promotion agencies — the national, municipal and regional organizations working to connect businesses with their communities — have never been more important. Conway’s Vice President, Advisory, Chris Steele, agrees. “Good IPAs recognize that they are the critical interface between their jurisdiction and the global community of investors and companies outside. Remember that, for all our data, this is a very human business.”
And that’s what separates the best of the best from the rest: They know it’s personal. To the best of them, data is merely a tool to serve the needs of their communities. Remember, data doesn’t make decisions. People make decisions. The men and women in the world’s Top IPAs make their impassioned, personal cases over and over again, hour after hour, to ensure decisions are made in their favor.
This is one of the few awards Site Selection bases on subjective input. But we still insist on keeping even a subjective ranking at arm’s length from our personal opinions, ensuring the independence of the rankings. For this award we reached out to 1,000 experts around the world, corporate decision-makers and site consultants, surveying them on which agencies they believed to be the very best in the business. On the following pages we join those corporate end users and site consultants in celebrating the people making the greatest contribution to the vitality of their communities.
The Best to Invest Top IPA Awards recognize the professionalism and preparedness, the leadership and staff, the overall success the winning organizations demonstrate each day. Those chosen as some of the world’s Top IPAs accumulated the most points in voting based on the following criteria:
- Most professionally responsive to inquiries
- Staff possessing the best knowledge and language diversity
- Offering access to user-friendly databases of sites and incentives (general and sector-specific)
- Readily available information on timing expectations of permitting and other processes
- Access to recent investors in the region who can vouch for the area and agency
- Best reputation for protecting investor confidentiality
- Reputation for after-care services
- Website: Is it easy to navigate, does it possess a wide breadth of data and does it have an efficient, modern design?
We congratulate all of this year’s very deserving winners, in particular those who seem to make this list year after year, such as Dubai FDI, Germany Trade and Invest and CINDE in Costa Rica. We also welcome first-time winners such as AICEP Portugal, ProColombia and Invest in Morocco, who we hope to see continue the outstanding work that so deservedly earned them this praise.
Keep up your important work, all.
By Adam Jones-Kelley
President of Conway, Inc.