Towards a more globally competitive Baltic Sea Region through cooperation and joined forces
Investment Promotion Agencies Forum 2014
The Baltic Sea Region is still one of the economically most competitive regions in the world. However, foreign companies are still of significant importance for the national and regional economy in terms of employment, creation of value and innovation, as they generally perform better than domestically-owned companies. This is one of the main conclusions of the Business Plan for Investment Promotion Agencies in the Baltic Sea Region, published by the Baltic Development Forum.
The Business Plan was launched at the Baltic Sea Region Investment Promotion Agencies Forum 2014 in Helsinki on 9-10 June, which was the final meeting of BSR IPAs within the frameworks of ONE BSR project. The conference provided many insightful keynotes on the economic state of the Baltic Sea Region, as well as examples and possibilities for regional cooperation in investment promotion work. Over 100 professionals working in the field of inward investment promotion from the Baltic Sea Region and beyond attended the event, hence, it was a suitable occasion to introduce the steps forward – the Business Plan.
The opening words, with introduction of the latest State of the Region Report (BDF) and the presentation of FDI trends in the Region by Financial Times/fDi Magazine, were a valuable input to further discussions on how to deal with a changing global economic environment when working within the field of investment attraction. The introductory speeches were followed by presentations of Megatrends and their implications to the work of IPAs, insights into corporate perspective on Baltic Sea Region as an investment location, as well as lead generation and pipeline management. It was recognised that the Baltic Sea Region as a whole has more to offer with its various propositions (as investment location), and that the ICT sector is its strength.
During Forum’s second day, the participants attended workshops within 5 different thematic tracks:
- Attracting ICT investments in the new era of ICT
- Attracting Growth Capital investments
- The innovation game – competing for R&D investments
- What does success mean in investment promotion? – Measuring & Reporting FDI, Its impact and the contribution of IPAs
- Marketing as a tool in investment attraction
This exercise enabled the present IPAs not only to share best practices and define common challenges but also to identify and discuss areas for possible collaboration. Each thematic working group managed to identify a few activities or projects that could be jointly carried out. The Business Plan supplemented by the outcomes of the workshop is a tangible indication of willingness to cooperate on the regional level.
The Business Plan
For the years ahead, the ambition is to take the IPAs cooperation to a next level. For this purpose, the Business Plan identifies future cooperation activities and the operating model way forward. With a developed collaboration strategy and a clear action plan, the Business Plan is a necessary tool, if the IPAs in the BSR network share a serious ambition to collaborate in the coming years.