What is investment readiness and why is there so much "buzz" around it?
Part of the reason is that there are many perceptions (and in some cases, misconceptions) as to what being investment ready means. Let's take a brief look at investment readiness (sometimes referred to as community competitiveness), and in future blogs, we will probe the various aspects of becoming more investment ready.
In a nutshell, "investment readiness" is the state of community preparedness and competitiveness to retain, grow, and attract business investment. Simple, right? What is difficult, however, is actually being investment ready. Having assessed dozens of communities, it is safe to say that all communities could be more investment ready. This was also the conclusion of a landmark report on Ontario's Local Economies in Transition Initiative.
So what are the 7 elements that contribute to investment readiness?
- Up to date, and complete data and information related to location and investment decision-making.
- A comprehensive asset inventory - a documentation of a community's "resources and product offering" (in the broadest of terms) that supports business relocations and expansions. Items could include natural resources, post-secondary institutions and research establishments.
- An understanding of the community's strengths, weaknesses, competitive advantages and disadvantages - generally, as well as for specific target sectors.
- Continued community improvements to increase overall quality of life and strengthen your community's "resources and product offering".
- Communication tools, such as an economic development website, that make it easy to find data and information on your community and its assets - and that is easily accessible in different formats.
- The ability to understand, interpret and to respond comprehensively to investment inquiries (almost instantly!).
- The ability and willingness to orchestrate site visits, to "read" the client, to follow through on commitments, and to move the deal to a close.
Becoming investment ready is not a one-time effort - it requires constant and consistent time and attention, although there are tools available to save you time and effort. Maintaining your community's investment readiness supports strategy development and implementation, and is a foundation for any form of investment attraction program or activities. And, hence, that is why there is a "buzz" around investment readiness.