Porto leads the Financial Times' European Cities of the Future ranking

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With an upward trajectory in recent years, 2023 enshrines Porto's strategy of promoting foreign direct investment with the Financial Times placing it at the top of the European Cities and Regions of the Future. An announcement of the recognition of fDi Intelligence was made on Thursday, during the event “When the change becomes the future”, which brought together, in the Reservatório da Pasteleira, political and private decision makers of the city's business ecosystem.

“Today we make history”, said Ricardo Valente. However, for the councillor for the Economy, Employment and Entrepreneurship, “more than the result, what is relevant is the process, which is the guarantee of its future sustainability”.

And the process is the work that has been developed by InvestPorto, the municipal division specialized in attracting and facilitating direct investment projects, born of “a political vision that has investment as a cornerstone of the development strategy for the city”.

In 2022 alone, the Municipality was able to attract around 435 million euros in direct investment to the city, more than double the previous year, boosting 1,380 direct jobs. But the councillor also recalls the impact that attracting companies has on the rehabilitation of the city and on “increasing its visibility and international competitiveness”.

In the Financial Times ranking, Porto leads in the “FDI strategy – Large cities” category, ahead of cities such as Birmingham or Manchester (England), Glasgow (Scotland), Antwerp (Belgium), Katowice (Poland), Izmir or Adana (Turkey), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Bilbao (Spain).

The investment promotion strategies of 90 cities and regions were compared, considering criteria such as the profile and number of foreign investments attracted in the last 12 months, the fastest growing sectors of activity and the results of local policies on talent attraction, energy resilience and sustainability.

“Porto is a city that is shaped, tolerant to change and capable of fulfilling the desires of those who intend to live, work or study here”, emphasizes Ricardo Valente, adding how recognition is a demonstration of “a city that aspires, achieves and is not afraid to compete".

Before reaching the top of the European Cities and Regions of the Future of fDi Intelligence, Porto had already conquered the 8th position in 2018/19, the 5th in the 2020/21 edition and the third place on the podium in the ranking presented by the Financial Times in the last edition, 2022/23.

The award ceremony “fDi European Cities and Regions of the Future” will be held in Cannes, France, on March 14, and will take place in parallel with MIPIM, one of the largest real estate investment fairs in Europe, where Porto will be present to, together with the municipalities of Matosinhos and Vila Nova de Gaia, present the Greater Porto initiative.

Attract to Porto, the region and the entire local economy

The event “When the change becomes the future” also featured a round table where the councillor for Economy, Employment and Entrepreneurship joined Attila Czimmer, from the international agency Kantar, and the director of Natixis Portugal, Etienne Huret, to discuss the “Economic Strategy Policy for the future of the city of Porto”.

And for the future, Ricardo Valente hopes that Porto has “passed on the message to the country that it needs to attract investment” and that the fight is not done alone, since InvestPorto has also attracted companies to neighbouring municipalities. “Porto fights for the economic interests of the city and the region”, says the councilman, adding how the establishment of these companies also has an impact on the local economy.

From the companies’ side, “talent is the key to everything”, says Etienne Huret, admitting that Porto was the right choice to invest in. With more than two thousand people working at the company, Natixis Portugal recognizes the relationship with universities, with whom they have also created specific courses for the financial area, as essential for the success built in Porto, in addition to the connectivity to other cities, the ease in foreign languages and “the will to learn”.

In line with the vital importance of the talent found in Porto, the Kantar director recognizes how the city “offers good opportunities and a very competitive package for investors”. “More companies will attract more talent”, believes Attila Czimmer, who also underlined the “constant support” the company has received from the Municipality since arriving in the city.