After 20 years of conservative governance, the region of València is governed now by a coalition between the Socialists and the Nationalist party of Compromis, a party which tripled its results from the last regional election.
Many of the great corporate leaders of the region considered this result with caution. That said, it is already two years since the coalition took office and overall economic performance have significantly improved, to the satisfaction of the Government and tranquility of the businessmen.
In that, it has had much to do with political leaders like Maria Dolores Parra, 31 years, director of Internationalization of the Government of València. With an admirable curriculum, she has the responsibility of attracting investors to the region -the fourth most populous region and the second largest exporter region of Spain- and promoting the expansion of the Valencian companies abroad.
Why choose the Valencian region to invest?
The Valencian Region’s stable business climate combines with various key factors that make it the place chosen by a large number of foreigners who see it as an ideal place to live and work.
There are many reasons for choosing the Valencian Region, among them we can highlight our geostrategic location in the Mediterranean; our outstanding infrastructures; the availability of competitive public industrial land; a broad research and innovation network; a large pool of highly qualified professionals; the institutional support and an incomparable quality of life.
The real estate market has traditionally attracted an important number of foreign investments into the Valencian region. Which are currently the most appealing market niches to invest in Valencia?
Whilst it is true that we cannot omit the sound performance of this market, the Valencian Region offers investors attractive business opportunities in various industries, such as the automotive industry, the tourism industry and agrofood industry and some strategic industries like the Healthtech, Biotech and Medtech.
What is the Government of Valencia doing to attract foreign investments?
The Government of Valencia –through the Regional Ministry of Sustainable Economy- is working not only in a reactive way providing personalized advice and support to the investor in the implementation of their projects, but also in the application of proactive measures in order to identify and attract investment opportunities to our region.
Among the activities developed within the framework of these proactive measures of attraction of investment, I would highlight the organization of singular actions to promote the Valencian region and its productive sectors in potential investment-issuing markets, the organization of events and forums for contacts between international investors and companies in the Valencian Region seeking funding -such as the Healthtech Venture Forum 2017- and the development of an international network of prescribers to support the investment attraction team in identifying and channeling new investment opportunities.
Finally, we are working on a Communication Strategy aimed at strengthening the image of the region of Valencia and improving its positioning, at national and international level, as a suitable destination to invest.
In which sectors has Valencia region focused its efforts to become particularly attractive?
As I have already mentioned, Valencia hosts many attractive sectors. Nevertheless, from the Valencian government we are focusing on the opportunities represented by sectors such as the automotive sector, with a special focus on connected cars, chemical sector, ICT or Healthech.
This region has great potential in these sectors and for this reason we have made them the spearhead of our promotional action to attract foreign investments to our territory.
Many regions worldwide claim to be the ideal location to invest. What makes the region of Valencia a better place to invest? What is its added value?
Well, the region of Valencia is an incomparable place to live and work. We can point out that this region has competitive advantages over other regions, such as our infrastructures, connectivity, high qualify professionals, etc., but we also have an unbeatable quality of life.
This region notes for its open and integrating society, its climate with more than 320 days of sun per year, its beaches, its cuisine -a leading exponent of the Mediterranean diet and our highly valued historic heritage-, a testimony to the Valencian Region’s contribution to universal culture.
In addition to this, Valencian Region has many schools that teach in foreign languages, making it easier for foreign residents to integrate and a universal health system which is among the best of the world.
All this combined with a cost of living that lies under the National and European average make this region the best place to start a business project.
What kind of measures is the Government of Valencia carrying out to create an appealing investment climate in the region?
Investors enjoy strong institutional support from the Valencian Government, which are committed to minimising bureaucratic barriers in order to make easy to set up business here and create the right climate for investment.
How do we do that? The Regional Ministry of Sustainable Economy has created a department exclusively aimed at attracting foreign investment and offering investor support, it is called the Valencian Investment Desk (VID). The VID seeks to provide comprehensive solutions to potential investors´needs in the various areas of business competitiveness. This is achieved through a group of experts in international expansion, industrial land, energy, innovation and financing.
The FindKapital Programe and Loyalty programe are two iniciatives held by Invest CV. How these programs might help foreign investors?
The Findkapital Program has a twofold purpose; on the one hand and after a previous and exhaustive work of identifying projects is intended to provide the investor with viable companies and projects in which to invest in the Region of Valencia and, on the other hand, to offer companies of the Region an alternative way of financing.
Through the Loyalty program, the development and reinvestment of the foreign companies implemented in our territory is supported by their expansion and reinvestment projects.
The companies already established in our territory are our main demand for foreign companies from the same sectors or related sectors to be implemented in our region. Our aim is to make available to them, listen to their needs and act as go-between with the Public Administrations providing the necessary institutional support if it’s required.
Connectivity is an important factor for businesses that are deciding where to locate or expand. Is the region of Valencia well connected?
The Region of Valencia is a Region open to the world and open to business.
It lies at the center of the Mediterranean Arc, a key element in the European logistics network. It is a ideal port for freight traffic from Spain and Southern Europe to Africa, Asia and US. Its capital, Valencia has full-modal transport integration (sea, airport, motorways, railways), each with global connectivity.
We have modern and well equipped infrastructures: 3 Ports: ValenciaPort -the leading container port of Spain and the Mediterranean- Port of Castelló and Port of Alacant; 3 International Airports (Castelló, València and Alacant-Elx); a high Speed rail line –AVE- which connects Valencia and Alacant with Madrid in 98 and 150 minutes, respectively.
The Valencian Region is also the central part of the Mediterranean Corridor. The Mediterranean Corridor will improve the connectivity of all the main cities of Spain, from France to Andalusia. Will reduce transport time of people and goods connecting with rail access to the Spanish Mediterranean ports, saving economic and environmental costs.
And a Strong Road Network: the Valencian Region is connected by road to the rest of Spain and Europe through a network of fast roads.
Since you come from the academic world, how do you see the role of the University in the era of the economic globalization?
It is important the connexion between companies and universities, something that has been reinforced over the years. The important work that the universities have done to establish bridges between the research and the entrepreneurial application derived from it has resulted in an increase in spin-offs to the parks science parks of our five public universities.
At all times initiatives are emerging that help reduce the distance between University and company and demonstrate that universities can help and provide a plus of innovation and competitiveness that completes the training in companies and institutions that different degrees have implemented and reinforced in recent years.
Do you think that Valencian universities have the capacity to generate a qualified professional manpower?
Absolutely yes. The Region of Valencia, with 9 universities (4 private and 5 public, with 5 scientific parks located in its facilities), offers a fertile environment for the formation of human capital in our land.
In addition, our universities enjoy a high reputation both at the state and international level as well as in the business environment.
The Polytechnic University of Valencia is ranked 1st in the university-business ranking in Information and Communication Technologies, as stated in the II report of the EVERIS University-Company Ranking 2016 Foundation.
The main added value of the Region of Valencia is to have highly competitive professionals in terms of educational qualifications and remuneration.
València is the second largest exporting Spanish region. What measures is the Valencian Government implementing to consolidate its position?
The Valencian Government considers one of its priorities to support business internationalization. We know that it is a complex process, which requires time, resources and a medium- and long-term strategy.
The Region of Valencia has a particularity. And 90% of our business fabric is made up of small and medium-sized companies, which makes it even more worthwhile to place ourselves as the second most exporting region in Spain, and which has a healthy balance of trade among the most exporting regions.
From the Valencian Government, we carry out a policy of internationalization that seeks to expand the export base, diversify both the sectors that are internationalized and the countries to which we export and consolidate the presence of our companies abroad.
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What is importance of the Port of València in the Valencian exports?
Valenciaport is one of the strengths of the Region of Valencia as a region open to the world. Mediterranean leading port in commercial traffic, mainly containerized goods, it is the 5th in Europe and the 31th in the world.
Valenciaport is a key element in the external projection of the Region of Valencia and also as a maritime port of production and consumption throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
Its leadership is based on several factors. A privileged location in the Western Mediterranean, an area of influence of 350 km, unbeatable connections by road and rail with the center of Spain; More than 100 regular lines including those of the main international shipping companies and with connections to more than 1000 ports worldwide.
Which measures are being carried out in order to support the internationalization of Valencian companies?
From IVACE we offer to the company an integral support to the companies. From a specialized advisory program, with experts accompanying and guiding the company for periods of 3 to 9 months to expand their knowledge in areas such as initiation to export, international financing, submission of proposals to tender Public or international marketing, among others.
We also offer personalized support to companies through our network of delegations abroad. We have developed an ambitious foreign promotion plan, we support the specialization of human resources and offer financial support through direct aids and reimbursable aids.
The network of Valencian commercial offices abroad (IVEX) has been fully dismantled. How is the Government of Valencia region supporting Valencian companies abroad at this moment?
We are convinced of the importance of offering support in destination markets to companies. It is a useful and real support and for this we are strengthening this network through a complex transparent bidding process.
The objective of the autonomous entities of foreign promotion is to accompany the companies in the destination markets, making them easy the identification of contacts, and the search for new clients in foreign markets difficult to access for our SMEs.
We want to be in markets of vital importance for the growth of our exports, reinforcing our presence in markets of maximum interest in the EU such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Poland, as well as in third countries where our companies are making such great efforts as Mexico, The United States, China and Russia, the Maghreb area – Algeria and Morocco -, or Colombia, Peru, and Brazil – as engines of growth in the Latin American region. This year we will be present in markets like Iran, given the opportunities it represents.
This new structure allows us to select the markets according to the opportunities it offers. We live in a rapidly changing world and therefore we must be agile to offer real support to companies.
The region of València is ruled by the Socialist party in coalition with a nationalist Valencian party –Compromís- after 20 years of Conservative governance. Is the new Government of València business oriented?
The Government of Valencia is prosperity oriented; every business committed to sustainable development, interested in creating opportunities for people and generating wealth, are more than welcome and will count with all the support of the regional government.