Mark O’Connell – 05 Jul, 2021 General

It was fabulous to see the engagement levels with our innovation awards for the IPA community. It tells me two things: there is a genuine interest in learning how the investment attraction business is likely to evolve post pandemic, and also that we are all in desperate need of a glitzy night out! We hope to deliver more sparkle next year in a face to face event!

While the spread of scores at the top of the Index was quite tight, Invest India were deserved winners and the acceptance speech by Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO confirmed their institutional commitment to making the investor journey into India as seamless and streamlined as possible. It was also pleasing to see that younger smaller agencies like Invest Lithuania and Swiss Global Enterprise are leading the way in respect of technology adoption to digitise the investment attraction process. Austrade have used the pandemic to show that distance or proximity to market need not be a limitation by virtualising the experience of investing in Australia via drones. And finally DIT have really thrown the cards up in the air and have developed a new strategy to accommodate and welcome all forms of investment from capital to VC and M&A and are actively promoting the opportunity for foreign investors to participate in an atlas of energy, infrastructure and technology projects underwritten by Government.

Aside from the Awards our report showcases the efforts of a wide range of IPAs to bring innovation to their offer, the way they do business and how they approach the market. I was inspired by the opportunistic way Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago have pivoted to the growth in nearshore locations for US firms and the fantasy of working remotely on the beach. I also enjoyed hearing from IDA Ireland how their virtual conference attracted some really big hitters from the technology world, probably because of its virtual nature. And many others have commented on the shortening of the FDI sales cycle thanks to senior level decision maker engagement from the outset.

I suspect the journey to innovation in investment promotion has really only just started and we can look forward to more inspiring and unexpected examples in the next year. Stay tuned!