Data-driven investment decisions – how IPAs can provide value to the location decision process

Why a one stop shop database is key for an investment promotion strategy 

Companies looking to expand operations internationally typically engage in a rigorous benchmarking process when choosing a location most suited to their needs. To do this effectively, access to detailed, complete, and up-to-date data on locations is indispensable. IPAs can significantly strengthen the appeal of their regions by fostering data-driven investment decisions by maintaining a “one-stop-shop” database of the key parameters companies use to shape their greenfield investment decisions.  

Importance of workforce data 

A major consideration for foreign companies when choosing an investment location is workforce availability in the region. While many locations will have readily available data on unemployment in the area, this is seldom sufficient in a location decision assessment. Companies want to know that a location offers the specific skillsets required to execute operations at the new facility in question. 

For example, IPAs can strengthen their investment attraction efforts by regularly collecting student and graduation statistics from universities and other training institutions in their region. This will help inform companies on the types of skills available, such as languages, programming or engineering skills. Such information will be particularly informative for companies interested in hiring many workers with specialized skills that may be in short supply elsewhere.  

Other informative insights may include data on the existing industry and professional workforce in the region. IPAs should have information on which positions by sector are experiencing labour shortages and may be challenging to hire for in the area. Transparency about the advantages as well as the challenges of hiring in your location will help to foster investors’ trust in your services.  

IPAs should also ensure that companies can easily access data on time-sensitive events that impact workforce availability in the region. This could include sudden availability of workers due to a recent facility closure, or increased demand for certain types of positions as a result of a new investment or expansion in the area.  

Keeping track of facility data  

Depending on the type of greenfield project, foreign companies investing in a region tend to have highly specific facility requirements. These may include building size, type of zoning, timelines to completion, proximity to raw materials, availability of utilities or transportation links for both goods and people.  

By maintaining an up-to-date database of available sites including development land, industrial parks and buildings or offices, IPAs can offer greater location clarity—a key component of a successful investment attraction strategy. IPAs should work closely with local estate agents and developers to ensure the availability of property data in their region.  

Key takeaway  

Lack of access to relevant data can prematurely disqualify a location for potential investment. If the required date is not available or is too difficult to source, companies (or their advisors) will simply eliminate a location from the analysis. IPAs can improve their success rate in attracting foreign investors by maintaining a transparent and up to date “one-stop-shop” database of the key parameters companies look for when choosing a location for their next investment. In addition to facilitating the company’s decision making, this will also position the IPA as a valuable and reliable partner that understands the needs of corporate investors. 

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