Joint strategy between Bilbao townhall & Biscay Council to improve international positioning of Bilbao-Biscay as destination for innovative investment projects
This is an example of multilevel governance and collaboration, by which Bilbao town hall and the Provincial Council of Biscay (PCB) set up a common model & strategy for attracting investment to Bilbao & Bizkaia.
In 2018 an agreement between politicians in both institutions was made, by which these two institutional levels with different geographical scopes would work closely in order to attract foreign investment in strategical sectors and areas for each one of them (they have not the same priorities, but are complementary), also aiming to positioning Bilbao & Bizkaia internationally as an optimal location to start and scale up innovative initiatives. To do so, the resources of both insitutions are pooled & aligned to offer one stop shop (one! centralized!) for FDI atracction and a unique office to support it.
This strategy seeks to attract investment insectors lined up with regional RIS3, but also activities in which our territory has strenghts –sub-regional priorities- (creative and cultural industries, Biosciences, ICTs and digital economy, Advanced services, Eco-technology, Urban solutions, Automotive, Aeronautics, Energy) & establishes a framework for action (who does what) when a foreign project interested in our territory makes contact: acquisition is developed by Bilbao, accompaniment is developed by both & implantation is developed by PCB, resulting in a single front & back office. Thus avoiding duplications & taking advantage of the strenghts of each partner

Resources needed

Besides the implication and agreement at the political levels in both institutions, one technician from both townhall and PCB/Beaz have been full time devoted to this initiative.
The negotiations & development of the methodology have been outsourced to an external third partner (aprox. 15.000€)

Evidence of success

This first year, efforts have focused on establishing a common ground for working like a single team (methodology), establishing common priorities and dividing responsabilities. As an example, a common Scorecard has been designed to collect the results and the activity carried out, taking into account the classifications of projects and the services offered. This initiative is the foundation for the FDI Attraction Strategy 2020-2023, which will result in the development of common support tools

Difficulties encountered

One of the main challenges has been to define priority projects or investments. Because, how else could we have some objective criteria that would work for both agents involved?
The other one has been to stablish the governance model: to negotiate & agree on who does what (methodology).

Potential for learning or transfer

Even in an early stage of development, Invest in Bilbao-Bizkaia sets up a good example on how two different institutional levels can set up common ground and a strategy on such an important matter as foreign investment attraction to the territory. Both institutions have seen the benefits of pooling their resources and aligning their teams and efforts in order to present a single centralized one stop-shop, taking advantage of the strengths of each partner through clarification of roles among partners. Agreement and commitment at the political level has been paramount to ensure that technical teams collaborate closely. Besides, the development of a custom methodology can serve as inspiration to other regions that want to align municipal & regional/subregional levels on this matter.
Moreover, the priorization process takes into account the framework established by regional S3, as it aligns with the priorities set up also at the regional government, ensuring territorial cohesion
Main institution
Beaz (DFB)
País Vasco,
Start Date
September 2018
End Date


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