The Covid-19 crisis hit Europe just as the investment promotion industry was gearing up for its annual rendezvous at Mipim in early March. Back then, it seemed impossible to imagine they would call off the four-day event held every year in Cannes, southern France.
In hindsight, Mipim 2020 marks a turning point for the whole industry. Its demise was a wake-up call on the level of disruption unleashed by Covid-19.
Instead of running back and forth along the Croisette for Mipim’s usual whirlwind of handshakes, business events and cocktail parties, investments promotion agencies (IPAs) and economic development organisation (EDOs) found themselves grounded. Instead, they ended up unexpectedly mulling over the need to evolve their models and tools to adjust to a new world where physical interactions, which used to define their work, are no longer a viable option.
Two months on, the evidence of the ongoing adjustment is already tangible. “We are seeing a massive growth in the provision of digital services,” Henry Loewendahl, the founder and CEO of investment advisory firm Wavteq, tells fDi.