Investment Certification Programme for Regions (ICPR)
Although perhaps best known for its tourism potential, Croatia has an extremely diverse economic structure. Not only does its tourism product vary from region to region but there are many other important value added economic activities and opportunities across the country. Economic activities range from organic farming to advanced manufacturing and from software design and development to financial services and logistics.
In order to ensure that investors are aware of these opportunities and can make an informed decision about which regions to consider when evaluating an investment opportunity the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship (MELE) together with Croatia’s Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APIU) using EU Cards support developed the ICPR.
They recognised that the attraction of investment is a highly competitive business worldwide. Investors always have a choice. Thus the ability to successfully attract an international investment depends not only on the overall macro economic conditions of Croatia but also on the ability of regions to offer attractive and competitive conditions to potential investors that meet their business needs.
MELE is the key policy maker for driving forward a competitive and attractive business environment. As the Ministry responsible for entrepreneurship and labour, the attraction of value added jobs that upgrade national competitiveness and provide opportunities for both national and international investors to flourish is critical. Having strong national and regional partners capable of understanding the elements of a competitive business environment and working towards upgrading and promoting such an environment is essential to enable Croatia to compete successfully in the global market.
The ICPR plays an important role in helping develop a clear understanding of investors needs at both national and regional levels and developing infrastructure and services that can meet them.
The ICPR Standards
The ICPR created three standards that aim to certify that counties can:
The aim is to develop a so called “one stop shop” which goes further than offering bureaucratic services and actually helps to facilitate FDI into the region
- Meet with potential investors and present the local ‘business case in a professional and convincing manner that demonstrates an understanding of investor needs and an ability to meet them.
- Help ensure that the investment process is made as trouble free and speedy as possible since “time to market” is an increasingly critical issue for international investors.
- Ensure that existing investors have the opportunity to develop successfully and expand through regular contact with relevant public sector officials aimed at addressing bureaucratic obstacles and removing barriers to growth.
The Information Standard
Certifies that the Region can meet the information needs of a typical investor and knows how to use the information in a selling situation. To meet the requirements of the standard a region should:
- Complete a detailed information checklist and identify sources of relevant detailed information for follow-up questions.
- Conduct a survey of existing investors in the region to understand both strengths and weaknesses of the regional ‘product’ and to identify expansion opportunities or investment barriers.
- Develop a local suppliers database to service the needs of targeted investors.
- Complete a report on one or more high growth potential sectors in the region.
The Property Standard
Demonstrates that the Region is able to offer a range of sites and buildings that meet international standards and that are ready for development or occupation by a new investor with appropriate infrastructure and services.
Each region should be able to demonstrate that they can provide full documentation for:
- At least 150 ha of serviced and properly zoned land available in the next 12 months.
- At least 250 ha of additional development sites available in the next 60 months.
The Marketing Standard
This confirms that a region has developed a territorial marketing strategy, a client management structure and produced marketing materials and an action plan, to present its product in a professional and attractive manner to clearly selected targets.
In addition to a clear marketing strategy and action plan with a confirmed budget each region should demonstrate that it has created:
- A web site aimed at meeting the information needs of potential investors in at least two languages
- Collateral materials in English (at least) that promote the advantages and opportunities in the region
- A nominated individual or team with the ability and enthusiasm to guide an investor through the process of investment from initial contact to final business launch.