Maribor and Drava Region among the Top 10 investment-friendly places
fDi's European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/19
According to fDi Intelligence, fDi's European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/19 ranking is not limited to the European Union, it seeks to find the most promising cities and regions across Europe. To create a shortlist for its ranking, the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times collected data using specialist online FDI tools - fDi Benchmark and fDi Markets - and other sources. Data was collected for 489 locations (301 cities, 150 regions and 38 LEPs) in five categories: Economic Potential, Labour Environment, Cost Effectiveness, Infrastructure and Business Friendliness. The locations scored up to 10 points for each data point, which were weighted by their importance in the FDI decision-making process, in order to compile the subcategory rankings, as well as the overall European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/19 ranking.
Municipality of Maribor and the Drava Region
The efforts of not just Maribor but also the broader Drava Region did not go unnoticed by the Financial Times magazine. The city and its encompassing region were included on the list of European cities and regions with a well-developed strategy for attracting investment. Maribor was ranked seventh most investor-friendly micro-European city, while the Podravje region was sixth in the most investor-friendly small European region category.
According to Andrej Fištravec, Mayor of Maribor, Maribor and the Drava Region ranked among the fastest developing and most prospective cities and regions in Europe: "I am thrilled that Maribor and the Podravje Region are on the Top Ten list for investment attraction. We have put a great deal of effort into the latter for the past three years. The titles that we have been awarded prove that our strategy was well received."
Miha Leskovar, Director of the Maribor Development Agency, believes the titles awarded indicate that the operations of the investment office established in 2017 have been fruitful: "In receiving this award, we have placed ourselves on the map of Europe. In the forthcoming year we will focus on two goals - internationalisation and attracting foreign investors. We wish to bring the regions closer together as we believe unity would make us stronger."
Božidar Pučnik, Head of Invest Podravje, emphasised the importance of the investment office's dual goals: "On the one hand, we strive to generate more jobs and on the other, we wish to help existing companies. The decision to create the Invest Podravje platform was made systematically. We checked what we had - the properties, offices and halls - and began compiling databases."
The system of investment acquisition comprises everything from the first meeting to the final investment. The Municipality of Maribor considers Aerodrom Maribor, Vila Mari, RTS24, Serioplast, Aros Mobili - which was restructured with municipal aid - and Brobo Evropa, to be its major investments. Marko Kovačič, Economic Advisor to the Mayor of Maribor, stated: "We have TAM Europe developing an electric bus which we think will be the turning point in the company's development. We also helped the Florjančič Tisk company by amending the zoning plan. And in terms of the Magna investment, we initially wanted to help by finding the optimal location."
In October 2008, the companies in Maribor generated 68,000 jobs. What followed was a loss of 13,000 jobs by the end of March 2013. Since then, there have been 4,700 new jobs and the declining trend has stopped. According to Kovačič, IT company EON Reality is expected to be the next investor in the city. They have expressed their interest in coming to Maribor, but the Municipality is still waiting for a response from the Slovenian government regarding a subsidy.