I have had the opportunity to do some work with Invest NB so I put my bias on the table but I have to say the folks who are complaining that most of Invest NB’s announcements have been multinational expansions (i.e. they were in NB already and are now expanding) are misguided.
I don’t understand that gripe. I have said (and many others too) that in a hard investment attraction market – with stiff competition – the best opportunities for growth are those multinational (and local) firms in our own backyard. I specifically recommended that Invest NB go after the firms already here and try and convince them to expand here and – it seems they are having some success (Salesforce.com, Thomson Reuters/Elite, now Genesys Labs, etc.).
The critics say those firms would have expanded anyway. While I don’t know the specifics of any of these files, there is nothing that would indicate these firms would have expanded here – automatically.
Anyone in sales will tell you the best opportunities for a new sale will always be through upselling existing customers. That’s why you get harassed by the telephone company to add new services (or at least I do).
A few years ago I completed a project in another province that involved interviewing multinational firms located in a specific city in that province. Of the dozen or so firms I interviewed, only 2 or 3 had any idea the provincial economic development agency would actually help them pitch head office on the potential of expansion in that city and none – not one – had ever got a visit from that provincial economic development agency. That’s a strange case to be sure but it does point out the absolute imperative to make sure you comb through your own couch for loose change before you start knocking on the neighbour’s door.
Invest NB is following the investment attraction playbook.