Weekly REDEW: American Cities of the Future 2011/12

Well, it was a busy week, last week, with the Chamber’s Regional Leadership Conference and all (see this/last week’s B-MOW), so we’re just getting to last week’s REDEW this week. I know several of you were desperate over the weekend, hitting refresh over and over again, but hopefully you have recovered. So, without further delay, this week’s Random Economic Development Email of the Week: “North-Central-South American Cities of the Future 2011/12: Now accepting entries.”

WHAT?
The American Cities of the Future 2011/2012 is a competition to find those cities, small and large, with the best prospects for inward investment, economic development and business expansion.

WHY?
This is a great opportunity for your city to compete for the title ‘The American City of the Future 2011/12′ which will be published in fDi Magazine, part of the globally renowned newspaper – The Financial Times. fDi Magazine is the global leading title focusing on the business of globalization, with a readership that comprises of CEOs, CFOs and other senior boardroom level decision makers at the world’s leading companies.

HOW?
Simply complete the six questions regarding the attractiveness of your city to foreign investors. Just click the following link http://americancitiesofthefuture2010.fdimagazine.com/ to submit your entry, it shouldn’t take long!

Somehow, a couple months ago, I ended up on the FDI Magazine listserv. And what comes over that listserv? Application announcements for various award self-nominations, including this one and one for nominating yourself as a leader in foreign direct investment programs.

Now, I’ve already questioned the whole awards and rankings world, in the cleverly titled post Our Economy Is the Best! (And/Or Not the Best), making the point that you can make our economy look better or worse, depending on what data you include. Plus, it’s mostly just a way to sell more magazines. However, this specific self-nomination really struck me, because they’re asking us to make the case for how our economy is going to grow over the next few years…which is exactly what we’re going to do in the next Regional Economic Strategy…and what I’m most worried about doing. How do we really know – especially in this very unpredictable economy – what is going to happen over the next few years? What data will we use to make those guess-timations? What assumptions are we going to make? And what trends are we going to assume?

It’s interesting to see what FDI Magazine thinks the important data points are:

1)        Please let us know how many staff you have dedicated to promoting and facilitating inward investment and what systems/programmes you have in place to train staff and measure performance, both individually and organisation-wide. (max 300 words):*
2)        Please name any key initiatives you are implementing to attract more investment (max 300 words):*
3)        Please list and provide supporting information on high growth sectors/sub-sectors in your city which offer excellent potential for inward investment (max 300 words):*
4)        Please provide a description of incentives which are available to inward investors, outlining where possible the typical size of incentives (max 300 words):*
5)        Please list any major infrastructure and urban planning projects (max 300 words):*
6)        Please list the cost of the following:

a.        Average monthly office rent for a prime city centre location (US$ per m²):
b.        Average monthly rent for a factory/industrial unit in a prime location (US$ per m²):
c.        Average price per m² of a 3 bedroom house (US$):
d.        Cost of electricity (US$ per kwH):
e.        Average annual salary for an unskilled worker (US$):
f.        Average annual salary for a semi-skilled worker (US$):
g.        Average annual salary for a skilled worker (US$):

Hmmm…well, thanks for the suggestions, FDI Magazine.  I’ll definitely pass them along to the consultant we’re in the midst of hiring!

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