Directory of cross-border
humanitarian services for
Business Introduction Service
for Technology-Led Business Cluster Development
Information about this unique B2B service
which collaborates globally with local economic development
such as business retention, expansion, trade, and cluster
to introduce executives to potentially relevant business
according to their specified interests and preferences
without waiting to meet at
Phil Eadon -
The links above are for lists of area representatives (economic development
investment promotion agencies) by region. There are links to their
websites as well as various GUIDE services (GUIDE = Globally Uniform
Investment Data & Experience)
to highlight timely knowledge about participating areas, including project
announcements and corporate real estate in a consistent manner worldwide.
See also our
award sponsorships and the
GUIDE Area Profiles.
These links lead to the same regional tables of contacts as found through the
Professionals, Contacts, or Maps buttons, or through link tables like the
above at the bottom of most pages as
a shortcut for navigational convenience.
The explanation below shares some of our thoughts
about working with area representatives, based upon more than a decade of
work in this niche with many investors through countless contacts for projects of all sizes
We're glad to help offer appropriate introductions in any area on an
Download a 2 page article (Adobe PDF) summarizing what we do. If we
maintain a working relationship with an area
representative, such as to help fund our work and maintain better knowledge
of their area, that will be openly disclosed in their
available through these regional lists of contacts.
Our new "advertising recall" service
recently published ads, with website links and contacts for easy reference.
A similar "event recall" service highlights
exhibitors, and speakers as opportunities to meet, and as a
potential indication of their industry focus .
Our selective list of local
tours" and special promotional activities may interest executives
and their advisors as a way to learn about some areas.
GIS Map Makers services provide quick access to data about areas which
may be published through many websites, rather than a single source.
There is also a new service to highlight
"Point of View"
analysis by professionals who identify verifiable data sources as
they share their own local market knowledge.
The list of professional
location consultants, other
service providers, and
"consultant tips" may be helpful to identify resources for project
section also highlights many potential sources of information, as does our
in association with Amazon.com
selectively highlight available
promotional materials as well as
labor market profiles or other potentially useful research
reflecting local market knowledge.
promotion or other business development programs - whether at the local,
regional, or national levels
|These lists are under
development, as they are not the main focus of our work with direct
investment projects, but may sometimes be helpful resources for executives.
CAFTA, and FTAA
How do we
define "area representatives"? What can they do for executives?
"Area representatives" includes a wide range of organizations
which do work, usually on a non-profit or governmental basis, sometimes as a
public-private sector partnership, to promote and support community
development within a local county, metropolitan area, multi-county region,
state, provincial, or national area. This includes public utilities,
chambers of commerce, and other economic development organizations which
support corporate investment projects as local or regional area
representatives. Similar organizations may not provide the same services,
because they focus their limited resources according to their business
Their areas of responsibility often overlap.
Multiple organizations within a large area may address different aspects of
investment projects, whether coordinated as an integrated "one-stop shop"
team effort, or perhaps as a more fragmented but cooperative service.
In some cases, local organizations even compete to some degree against each
other, and may have rivalries about who "gets credit" when new investments
arrive (or blame when they leave).
This may include "economic development" organizations,
which are sometimes also called "offices", "alliances", "partnerships", or
"industrial development" corporations or agencies. In other countries,
they are sometimes referred to as "investment promotion agencies", even
though their role may actually include far more than just investment
promotion tasks. In particular, most leading agencies have very active
programs to support business retention and expansion among existing
companies in their areas.
Some organizations operate quite independently of
governmental control for most tasks, even if that is a major source of
funding and a factor in the scope and delivery of their services.
Others can be quite politicized, or try to "steer" investment to particular
Their degree of experience and understanding of critical
business investment issues from the investor perspective, as opposed to
their own self-interests, varies widely. They are often trying to
support many companies and complex projects with very limited resources.
Even if your general perception is that contact with any
organization which is remotely governmental in nature is a waste of time,
area representatives don't generally fit that mold. They usually try
very sincerely to help projects develop faster and better in their areas.
just for incentives? Or a risk to project confidentiality?
No. In recent years, excessive focus on investment
incentives has blurred the much larger role of these organizations, and
other ways in which they can be valuable.
In the case of investment incentives, the role varies widely
between organizations. Some would actually be on the other side of
such negotiations, trying to both "win" a project in competition with other
areas while also trying to limit the impact on their available resources for
such incentives. Other organizations have no direct role in such
negotiations, and can actually help to advise investors about the incentives
which may be available, and how to negotiate with the responsible
It is important to recognize the difference, and also to
consider any issues such as project confidentiality when making contact with
such organizations. Most are very discreet and professional in their
handling of project enquiries, but some are not, and those organizations with more
political influence may have more of a problem in this regard when dealing
with major projects because of the potential political impact of "winning" or "losing"
a project for their area.
The key point is that they often have extensive local
contacts and market knowledge to share about the local business environment
for investors which can be very useful, and their support can be very
influential for the speed and success of a project. Even in places
where virtually no financial incentives exist, their ability to cut through
red tape and introduce key contacts or share their practical experience from
work with other companies in their area can affect the project timeline and return on investment.
In some countries the role is more one of investment
oversight than promotion or direct assistance (financial, advisory, or
networking), but usually the mandate is to help promote
business investment, often with a focus on particular types of projects or
industry sectors as priorities according to the development agenda of the
If incentives and confidentiality are major issues for a
project, it can be a good idea to talk to
who have experience working with many areas. They can generally do far
more for an investor than the free services of a development agency because
of their experience across many regions and projects, and
there is no question whose side they are on in any negotiations. Even if they may turn to
area representatives to help address some issues, most of their work is done
independently of such contacts, and they can conceal the identity of their
client when necessary.
See also : "The
Rumor Mill Solution" and our views on "Project
Confidentiality" among the area representatives with whom we work
a project team contact local area representatives?
There is no simple rule for this. It really depends
upon the nature of the project, and especially the degree of confidentiality
which is required, as well as the extent of likely competition among
multiple areas for the project. Keep in mind, however, that even a
simple approach by a staff member to gather local information can "tip off"
such an organization about a potential project and, if they start "fishing"
for more details, there can be unintended problems. If contact is to
be made, it is often better to be very candid about the reason, and to spell
out any sensitivities, to avoid needless risk of speculation, inappropriate
contacts, or potential confusion.
For example, when planning a post-merger consolidation of
operations, any leak of plans or speculation about potential facility
closures can perhaps trigger disruptive and costly labor disputes,
resignations, or other business problems. As another example, if the
project represents strategic entry into a new market where there are
established competitors who should not know about the project in advance,
there may also be greater need for caution.
On the other hand, local area representatives can be
extremely motivated and helpful, and most can be very discreet. The
more they know about your needs, the more opportunities they have to find
creative ways to be of help, and thereby try to differentiate the support of
business in their areas by comparison to any competing locations. If
they understand the sensitivities behind a project, they can also sometimes
be very helpful. For example, they may even be able to help understand
the potential issues and pave the way for a smoother transition in the case
of a major closure in their area, and can perhaps even work with the
departing company to help find a buyer for an operation that is being
closed, or to exit without a lot of needless bad publicity. When
acquiring a company in their area, they may be very motivated to help the
deal go as smoothly as possible, in the hope that the company will soon grow
in stronger hands.
Above all, keep in mind that we can help make such
introductions or help a project team to gather information very discreetly
a project team be cautious about such contacts?
Excluding situations which have strong confidentiality issues, it can
generally be useful to have contacts with area representatives from a very
early stage of planning, so that they can provide as much support throughout
the planning process as possible.
They often work with companies for years before a project
is implemented in their areas, and many projects never materialize, or are
lost to competing areas. They realize this. The better
organizations can still be extremely helpful, especially if you clearly
define what you need from them, and deal with them forthrightly.
Don't think it is "too early" to talk to them, or that they won't be
interested because it isn't a "hot" project opportunity for them yet.
Needless evasion about plans tends to frustrate them,
however, and convince them that they are wasting their time dealing with
somebody who isn't seriously interested in their area, and is perhaps just
using them for bargaining leverage somewhere else. The key is that, if
you are serious about potentially investing in their area, you should want
to start developing (and testing) the quality of the working relationship
from an early stage. After all, you may need their help even more
during the implementation stages of a project in their areas, or as the
company grows later, so it is good to develop an early relationship and
"size them up" (and their competitors) as an organization which you may need
to deal with for many years.
Keep in mind, however, that if the area representatives
are likely to play a significant role in any incentive negotiations, that
may need to influence how much information you share. For example, if
they become convinced that you are going to do the project in their area
anyway, why would they commit to as attractive an incentive package as may
otherwise be viable?
can be a very valuable resource in this regard, also from the earliest
stages of strategic planning and project definition, even before the company
gets down to specific choices about the scope or scale of an investment, or
the "long list" of places which might be logical alternatives to locate a
project. They can help you to differentiate objectively among
competing locations, and to understand how well local areas have supported
similar projects in the past, as two very valuable aspects of their work.
They can make the local introductions at the appropriate stage of your
specific planning process, no matter how early or late in the project
planning cycle that may be in your case.