Opening Doors for Foreign Investors
Established in 2019, INNO's mission is to contribute to regional development by attracting foreign investments and developing the innovation ecosystem at a regional level. Laviniu Chiș, head of our department, explains how this initiative can actively attract foreign investors and what are the most important aspects they consider when making the decision to invest. Let's dive in! What is INNO? INNO took the lead as the primary liaison for investors outside the North-West region, while also expanding our reach through the online platform INNO.ro. Our team maps the local business and innovation ecosystem and provides a collaborative space to meet the needs of investors and innovators alike. What problems does INNO strive to solve? We concentrate our efforts on two primary issues—attracting investors to the region and developing the regional innovation ecosystem. Stimulating and endorsing innovation and technology transfer can appeal to investors, but they also require a reliable point of contact in the area. That's where INNO comes in—we provide support services in investment such as guiding potential investors, providing information and facilitating networking essential for their business success. Let's get specific! What does INNO actually do for investors? Our support services encompass the entire investment process, from initial inquiries to production, ensuring investors have all the necessary information to make informed decisions. They include providing detailed information on available real estate properties, grants and state aid programs, infrastructure surrounding the properties, and legal and fiscal regimes in Romania. INNO also organizes private meetings with local authorities, businesses that have already established themselves in the region, and other relevant entities such as human resources and law firms. This helps investors gain a better understanding of the local business landscape, and to build valuable connections and partnerships. How has the pandemic impacted investor relations? The pandemic has definitely thrown us some curveballs when it comes to investor relations, especially in terms of site visits. We've had to postpone a lot of them due to travel restrictions and safety concerns, but we've been working hard to adapt and find alternative solutions. And I'm happy to say that things are definitely starting to pick up again! Since the start of 2022, we've been seeing a steady increase in the number of investors scheduling visits to Romania, and we're confident that we're on the right track to make up for lost time. It's been a challenging year, but we're excited to see things moving in the right direction once again. Where do most requests come from? In 2021, we saw a lot of interest from various countries, with Germany, Poland, Croatia, and the Czech Republic leading the way. It's interesting to note that some investors came to us directly, while others came through secondary channels like foreign trade chambers, consultancy firms, or even from other foreign investors already established in Romania. We're always thrilled to welcome new investors to our region, and we're looking forward to continuing to build strong relationships with partners from around the world. What are some of the key considerations that investors take into account before investing in a particular region? Investors have a lot to consider when making investment decisions, and the importance of each factor can vary depending on the specific investment. However, I can tell you that there are a few key pieces of information that are almost always at the top of their list. At the very top is the location of the property in relation to infrastructure, including roads, utilities, and telecommunications. This is crucial for ensuring the smooth operation of their business. In second place, the availability and quality of the local workforce is incredibly important. After all, skilled workers are the backbone of any successful enterprise. Third, the cost of acquiring the property is always a factor. Fourth, investors look for the package of incentives offered by local authorities, as well as any state aid that may be available. And last, but certainly not least, they consider what other foreign companies are already operating in the region. All of these factors play a critical role in the decision-making process.
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