Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. For IPAs this means that they will need to re-invent their approach to the corporate sector.
As I had outlined in my recent post “IPA-responses to COVID-19 and what you should avoid at all cost”, there clearly is a short-term as well as a long-term dimension to the current COVID-19 crisis, both calling for different approaches by IPAs.
Best-practice examples of IPAs for the short-term dimension
In order to establish yourself as a trusted discussion-partner, and to ensure that you are in the room when the more interesting discussions about the re-design of the corporate value chain / re-shoring starts, you need to drop your greenfield-sales talk and focus on what corporate managers are most interested in right now. And that is, how to deal with the fall-out of this current pandemic.
There is a lot, IPAs and RDAs can do. Some of Europe’s best Investment Promotion Agencies are already at it, offering best practise examples:
the German national-IPA Germany Trade and Invest, has set up dedicated webpages, directing firms invested in Germany, to the Financial Support programmes, outlining among others the Liquidity Aid Programs of the KfW, or explaining the rules of the Short-Time Allowance Schemes (Kurzarbeitergeld), aimed at relieving companies of wage costs in order to ensure that they can and do continue to employ their workforce, even at low capacity utilization. Details can be found on: https://www.gtai.de/gtai-en/invest/business-location-germany/corona-crisis-and-germany–232102 (if you happen to speak German there are even more sites than in English offering an astounding wealth of information https://www.gtai.de/gtai-de/trade/specials/special/schweden/covid-19-massnahmen-der-regierung-236474)
Similarly Invest in Austria has posted an extensive list of governmental measures such as the Hardship-funds, guarantees and loans and – similar to the German Kurzarbeitergeld – an explanation of the Austrian short-time work scheme. (Details at: https://investinaustria.at/en/blog/2020/03/covid-19-support-measures-companies.php)
Invest in Ireland, as ever professional, has a well-structured COVID-19 landing page https://www.idaireland.com/how-we-help/covid19-support-and-updates from where you can jump off to pages of essential service providers and further info https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/dfeb8f-list-of-essential-service-providers-under-new-public-health-guidelin/ . IDA has also laid out a 9 page “COVID-19 Response Plan” detailing government support for businesses and employees (see: https://www.idaireland.com/newsroom/publications/ida-ireland-covid-19-response-plan)
There are also regional / State-level IPAs who have put up their own COVID-19 related web-pages
Flanders Invest & Trade
laid out an extensive list of measures to help with limiting the effects of the COVID-19 fall-out for firms invested in Flanders, ranging from Tax measures, Investment guarantees, etc. (see
or the north-west German investment promotion agency NRW.INVEST has put together a list of useful links of financial aid, loans and non-repayable governmental grants (see: https://www.nrwinvest.com/en/our-service/corona-information-for-companies/)
This is obviously only a brief list of IPA-websites with concrete and practical information for corporate managers. The key however is, that these websites are only a first step. The more important second step are well trained IPA specialists at the other end of the phone to advise, support and guide investors to the best programmes – and thereby establish a depth of personal contact you’ll never arrive at with a few cold calls.
As a brief final suggestion UNIDO (https://www.unido.org/unidos-comprehensive-response-covid-19) and UNCTAD (https://unctad.org/en/Pages/coronavirus.aspx) have set up two excellent websites full of analysis, policy briefs and information.