IEDC 2017 Review

A full week has now passed since the IEDC’s annual 2017 conference in Toronto, and I believe that everyone who was there will agree with me when I say that it was a great conference to attend. The IEDC conference is one of the few economic development focused conferences which brings together such a diverse mix of economic development professionals from communities of all sizes and demographics. It is a chance to meet, catch up and to share or learn best practices from fellow peers, and of course the networking receptions and events that go on around the conference are second to none.

The theme of the conference this year was ‘Going Global’ – an appropriate topic given the global nature of Economic Development in today’s world but also given that this was the IEDC’s first flagship conference to take place outside of the United States. However, for me there were two other buzz words that formed their own themes within conference – Collaboration and of course, Amazon!

Touching on collaboration firstly; this was a sub-theme that formed the basis for many of the concurrent sessions. ‘Collective, Competitive Advantage for Foreign Direct Investment’ and ‘Collaboration, not Competition’ were just two of the concurrent sessions focusing on this. The point being that we all know how much competition there is to land FDI projects (think Amazon) and Trading Partnerships in today’s world, and it is natural to want to do the best we can to promote our own individual communities to land these projects. However, the reality is that so much more can be achieved by working together, whether that be at local, national or even international levels. Many examples were cited during the sessions and even during the keynote speeches when the economic collaboration between Canada and the United States was praised on several occasions, and rightly so. It is unimaginable to think how the economies of each the US and Canada would be at the moment if they didn’t work in Partnership with each other. In my own words; give a little, to take more.

Just look at Amazon and the buzz there was around the conference halls regarding their HQ2 project. Whilst there was a lot of friendly rivalry about who will eventually win this project, there was a serious undertone from everyone that their community will be the one that will win it. This project will of course go to a larger community which has the scope and financial prowess to back Amazon. But the support from smaller communities within their wider geographic area will also be paramount as there will be many opportunities that come off the back of this project, for the eventual winner, that the economies of the many smaller communities close by, will also receive a major boost.

Collaboration is a key part of what the HMC Global service offering is built on. We proactively collaborate with our clients every day to make sure that their message is promoted the right way in key target markets in Europe and Asia.

We would be keen to collaborate with you too. If you would like to learn more about how we do this and how we could help your community to ‘Go Global’ in Europe and/or Asia, please just get in touch and I will be happy to have a chat with you.

In the meantime good luck with your own efforts, and if you are bidding for Amazon HQ2 – may the best community win..

Michael Kerr, Principal Economic Development