Chinchilla and CINDE Focus on Courting Investors in New York City

By Luke Bujarski

Before heading over to the UN General Assembly, President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla took the morning to engage investors at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City. In addressing those lining up for a closer look at what the “”Rich Coast”” has to offer, Madame President left much of the talking around investment opportunities up to her senior delegation. Of course, the group would not have been complete without Mr. Jose Rossi, President of CINDE Costa Rica’s  renowned investment promotional agency in charge of promoting the country as the “”best export platform in the Western Hemisphere.””

Indeed, if anything can be said about CR’s promotion strategy it’s FREE TRADE – Free trade agreements and free trade zones specifically. “”As of August 1st and our signed FTA with China, we now have nine official agreements that tightly connect 43 percent of our GDP to global industry value chains,”” expressed Mrs. Anabel Gonzalez, Minister of Foreign Trade.

Amidst the crowd of current and would-be investors including Medtronics, Panduit, and L3 Communications, heavy hitter Patricia Cronin, IBM’s General Manager for Global Technology Delivery spoke on behalf of Costa Rica’s relatively small, yet talented labor pool. “”Our decision to locate in Costa Rica in 2004 went above and beyond our expectations, and we have now initiated plans to expand with a new global delivery center that will add an extra 1,000 to our already 1,200 existing professionals in Costa Rica.””

IBM wasn’t the only tech firm voicing out on Costa Rica’s ability to deliver on technology services and innovation. Trevor Kaufman, CEO of Possible Worldwide, an interactive media firm and subsidiary of advertising mogul WPP, showcased the latest marketing applications coming out of their delivery center in Costa Rica. Among the highlights was a top 50 iPhone app “”Blendr,”” a GPS-driven social networking tool that helps you connect in real time with like-minded folks at conferences and events. In a face-to-face chat, Trevor also mentioned the need to be in other LatAm countries – specifically Mexico and Brazil – but would anticipate an “”uphill climb”” compared to their positive experiences in CR since 2005.

Yet, amid the fanfare and talk-up around impeccable education rates, shiny incentives and a streamlined administration, more than one attendee expressed apprehension over market saturation and scalability. In a final Q&A session, VP of Infosys Sandeep Dadlani, commented that “”[Infosys] is very serious about Costa Rica, but we also like to expand with scale.”” In her response, Minister of Trade Gonzalez stressed “”transparency”” and the full commitment on the part of CINDE and the government to ensure a “”steady pipeline”” of talent.

Site location guru Ann Harts of Hickey and Associates was cautious about high costs and availability of real estate in San Jose, but noted that the Costa Rican market remains strong. Likewise, these and other hurtles have not deterred smaller companies like contract manufacturer Micro to prefer Costa Rica over markets like Mexico. “We’ve looked at Mexico, but the social unrest there frankly scares us, so we like Costa Rica,” explained Micro Head of Sales Frank Semcer.

To this, President Chinchilla reminded the audience that Costa Rica did away with its military to focus on education and the economy instead of “preemptive wars.”

Ann Harts Invited to Speak at Area Development Forum in Austin, Texas

Ann Harts, Principal at Hickey & Associates, LLC, has been invited to speak at Area Development’s 12th Consultants Forum in Austin, Texas from December 4-6, 2011.

Ann blends nearly three decades of experience in corporate real estate, economic development, site selection, and incentive advisory.  Ann is fluent in domestic and international site selection, providing strategy and services on corporate site selection and public incentive advisory to global companies, as well as Community Screening Studies for M&A transactions.  She has recently completed projects in numerous Latin American countries including Brazil, Mexico and Honduras as well as the United States and Canada.  As a Director of Global Real Estate, Ann spearheaded the workforce and workplace activities for a $2billion annual revenue global BPO with a real estate portfolio of 150+ locations in over 30 countries.

The Area Development Forum provides an opportunity for the country’s leading economic development consultants to network with the who’s who of global site consulting, corporate real estate, and economic development strategy.  The Forum will focus on the larger picture issues that affect Economic Development Corporations (EDCs) in today’s unstable and competitive market.

IAMC Volunteer Event – Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, PA

309075_10150280546205684_85850200683_8178017_2000413245_nIn a constant effort to give back to our nation’s communities, IAMC organized yet another volunteer event for the Fall 2011 IAMC forum in Philadelphia, PA, similar to the Spring 2011 IAMC volunteer event which took place in Albuquerque, NM.  IAMC approached United By Blue, an eco-friendly company that sells products and uses the profits to organize and host area cleanups, to coordinate a volunteer event for IAMC participants during the Fall 201 IAMC forum.

On September 10th, United By Blue and IAMC volunteers cleaned up and removed a total of 355 pounds of trash from Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, PA. Jason Hickey, President of Hickey & Associates, and IAMC member, participated in the Bartram’s Garden clean up making this his second time partaking in an IAMC community service event. These events are not only a great opportunity to lend a helping hand to a community, but also to spend quality time making friends and networking with fellow IAMC members and great organizations such as United By Blue.

YouTube Video: UBB presents IAMC’s Cleanup of Bartram’s Garden.