It is well known that to remain competitive, cities need to continuously evolve and market themselves on an international stage to attract foreign investment.
To give us an insight into how the city of Glasgow does this; Elias Haddad, from the Real Estate, Planning & Regeneration (REPR) Society at the University of Glasgow, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently collaborated on welcoming Anne Murray, the Inward Investment Manager from Invest Glasgow, to share her experience into how the city of Glasgow promotes its real estate market.
Anne Murray has been working with Invest Glasgow since 2012. Responsible for managing the newly-established Inward Investment team, she has represented the city in several countries, like Germany, Canada, and the USA in order to promote the city and raise its international profile.
Anne began the talk by introducing Invest Glasgow. She explained that after the financial crash in 2008, Glasgow’s Chamber of Commerce commissioned an independent review of Glasgow’s Economic Strategy. The Glasgow Economic Commission (2010) published 29 findings, one of which was for the city to attract and retain more international investment. This led to the inception of Invest Glasgow, which is essentially an Investment Promotion Agency within Glasgow City Council.
From this, Anne shared the new Economic Strategy to 2023. Glasgow has identified eight key sectors for growth. From Digital Technology to Tourism and events, this strategy hopes to encourage the creation of 50,000 new jobs by 2023.
Though ambitious, Invest Glasgow has identified that this is possible following the success of the International Financial Services District (IFSD).
Established in 2001, the IFSD is a £1bn purpose-built district, encompassing a square mile within Glasgow City centre. Since its creation, the IFSD has brought in over 53,000 new jobs, and attracted significant investment from, among many other notable companies, BT, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan.
Invest Glasgow hopes to replicate this success through the development of much needed Grade A office space within Glasgow. By investing in Glasgow’s infrastructure, Anne explained that the city would help increase the confidence of international investors, promoting, as a result, Glasgow internationally.
To compliment this, the Economic Strategy also aims to introduce 25,000 new homes to the Glasgow region, increase the overnight leisure tourism visits by 1 million over the next 6 years, and add 2,500 beds within the hotel industry.
To help achieve the Economic Strategy, the Inward Investment Strategy to 2023 has four main goals;
To promote Glasgow as a top location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI);
Win new FDI investments and create additional jobs across all sectors;
Attract capital investment to support the ongoing development of the city’s infrastructure;
Support existing investors to stay or who wish to expand their operations in the city.
Anne stressed again the importance of improving investors confidence in Glasgow as a city. The £1.13bn Glasgow City Deal has provided capital to develop vital infrastructure within Glasgow. However, for this to be effective, Invest Glasgow needs to match this investment with £3bn of inward investment.
But the future is looking optimistic. 2017 was a great year for Glasgow’s real estate industry, which saw a record breaking inward investment of £667.66m.
How does Invest Glasgow promote Glasgow to International Investors?
Invest Glasgow is fortunate as there are many positive messages to send to investors.
Due to its geographical location, Glasgow boasts the Great British brand, and being a European city. Moreover, due to its position within the central belt of Scotland, it is incredibly commutable and has great connections to both Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports with access to over 170 destinations world-wide.
Furthermore, as the UK’s fourth largest city, it has the potential to witness substantial growth.
Whilst Glasgow’s population is relatively small, there is considerable human capital across the wider Glasgow region, giving potential companies access to a sizable workforce. In addition to this, whilst salaries in Glasgow are 49% lower than in London, the quality of the workforce is high. This enables Glasgow to remain highly competitive within the international market.
Glasgow is also home to the UKs largest retail centre by spend out-with London’s West End.
All of these factors contribute to Glasgow’s position as the fourth highest recipient for Foreign Direct Investment in the UK.
Invest Glasgow utilises many different strategies to attract investment. Through advertisements and editorials in in-flight magazines to articles on INFABODE, Invest Glasgow advertises in many magazines and information platforms to share investment opportunities.
Invest Glasgow is currently working on attracting Chinese investment through articles in China Daily. However, due to the relatively small scale of the developments within Glasgow, it has been quite difficult to attract Chinese investors as they tend to favour large scale projects.
Another way that Invest Glasgow attracts FDI is through exhibiting investment opportunities in industry fairs, namely MIPIM and EXPO REAL. Though costly, these fairs have shown to be great at expanding the reach of Invest Glasgow, attracting a diverse array of investors.
After an incredibly engaging talk, Anne opened up the floor to questions. In response to these questions, Anne explained the collaborative effort across the council to support Invest Glasgow’s ambitions, boasted of the expertise afforded to Glasgow from both the University of Glasgow and Strathclyde University, and shared some trade secrets on future developments within Glasgow.
Author: Hannah Jane Haddad, Real Estate, Planning & Regeneration (REPR) Society