Building Globally Competitive Canadian Cities

Through concerted collaboration executed in a spirit of co-opetition, over the last three years 11 Canadian cities have executed seven joint Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) missions with the Federal government to 12 countries. These missions have resulted in 1,706 B2B meetings, 855 leads and 59 company visits. At an event last month hosted by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and attended by representatives of Chambers of Commerce and municipal economic development leaders from Canada's largest cities, attendees learned more about how to improve these numbers and accelerate leads to investment success.

Key points made during the day, which saw the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase bring their Global Cities Initiative (GCI) to Canada for the first time, included:

  • Economic development models are changing, countries and cities that don't recognize these "new" models, will be left behind;
  • Globalization is a reality, thinking global is a necessity for a sustainable economy;
  • Companies investing consider themselves as clients of cities;
  • Investors look to the ecosystems in city-regions not to politically defined municipal boundaries;
  • Green field investments are becoming rare. Expansion of existing investments, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) plus equity investment in existing domestic companies are now the FDI instruments of choice, and
  • Business links between global cities are growing.

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Victoria Krisman is Interactive Media Specialist for the Intelligent Community Forum.

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