The Madrid City Council, through MIA, creates a Virtual One Stop Shop for International Investors
Investment facilitation is an essential element of investment promotion and attraction policies. A business climate that facilitates investment can help to generate positive perceptions about a territory, convert potential clients into investment projects, satisfy investors and, therefore, encourage reinvestment.
To facilitate means to provide investors with the help they need to establish their investment projects, especially when an investor is new to a place and has little experience with the local business and investment climate or with the administration and public policies that govern in that territory. This facilitating function is an essential part of the activity of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) like MIA, whose services can make a difference by reducing the costs of access to information, which is often scattered or difficult to find, as well as other sunk costs that investors face when choosing a location for their projects.
Thus, the more than 5,000 IPAs that exist in the world – national, regional, or local – carry out a number of functions, from promotion and marketing to communication and aftercare services. Their most important function though, is investment facilitation, which is the fundamental reason for the existence of these institutions.
In recent years, especially since the financial crisis, the most innovative and advanced IPAs have been adding ever more sophisticated functions to the services they provide, forging a new generation of 4.0 agencies that incorporate changes in their strategies, organizational structures, and operations. These changes translate, for example, into new governance models, with active partnerships with the private sector, both for the provision of specialized and higher-value-added services to investors, as well as to contribute to the sustainability of public agencies.
Changes have also been made to the scope of their activity, incorporating services related to the main factors that affect investors’ decisions and the mobility of multinational companies, such as international talent.
Likewise, target clients are changing, as can be seen by the growing attention paid to the investment dynamics of tech startups and the commitment of more and more cities and regions to create hubs around this highly mobile sector.
Investment facilitation tools help to make investment processes faster
investment facilitation tools contribute to expanding the scope of action of APIs and accelerating investment processes. Multilateral organizations such as UNCTAD, the OECD, or the EU, which provide most of the expertise for drafting investment promotion policies, agree on the benefits that foreign direct investment (FDI) has for recipient economies. With this in mind, these organizations provide guidelines for maximizing the benefits of FDI, such as designing effective facilitation measures.
In this context, new instruments are emerging that contribute to strengthening the facilitating activity of agencies and that help to quicken and simplify the process of starting a new business and provide an image of transparency and institutional coordination.
We are referring to virtual one stop shops, which are typically digital in nature. Their objective is to create more user-centered public services, minimizing waiting times and reducing bureaucratic burden. The trend of providing public services through one stop shops has spread worldwide, at country, regional, and city level, as part of the trend to extend the reach of governments digital services.
A virtual one stop shop works as a single point of contact for potential investors, centralizing both the delivery of documentation and their interactions with different levels of administration throughout the investment process. Indeed, investors expect to deal with someone who understands and speaks their language, who can provide guidance and advice on the formalities and requirements to establish their company, minimizing the time and costs associated with the process.
Madrid Investment Attraction’s virtual one-stop shop
MIA, with the support of the Madrid Business Forum (Foro de Empresas por Madrid), is developing a virtual one stop shop for international investors (Ventanilla Virtual de Inversión Internacional) that will guide them in the process of doing business in the city of Madrid.
This microsite will inform investors about the basic administrative procedures that they must carry out to start operating in the city of Madrid, as well as the essential information on company formation and obtaining visas.
With the launch of its one stop shop in October, Madrid Investment Attraction will become a benchmark for investment facilitation in the city of Madrid, linking the city council with businesses and foreign investors.