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Brampton expects to spend $1.25M on travel and attracting foreign investment by end of 2020

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Brampton council spent $360,000 on its foreign direct investment program in 2019, and expects to spend another $900,000 in 2020. – Richard Lautens

Brampton councillors did quite a bit of travelling in search of foreign investment in 2019, and have plans to significantly increase spending on the city’s foreign direct investment (FDI) strategy in 2020.

According to a staff report presented to council on Feb. 5, the city spent $361,749.76 on the program last year for four FDI missions to Boston, Germany, Portugal and Turkey, with an additional $900,000 estimated for at least eight more trips in 2020.

If the 2020 estimates prove accurate, that would bring the total cost for the first two years of the FDI strategy to just over $1.26 million. Council budgeted $1.8 million for the whole program earlier in 2019.

Wards 2 and 6 Coun. Michael Palleschi travelled to Boston last September for the MedTech Conference. Mayor Patrick Brown and wards 7 and 8 Coun. Pat Fortini went to Cologne, Germany in October for the Anuga Food Fair.

In early November, Brown was joined by wards 3 and 4 Coun. Martin Medeiros and wards 1 and 5 Coun. Paul Vicente on a trip to Lisbon, Portugal for a web summit, while wards 9 and 10 Coun. Gurpreet Dhillon travelled to Turkey.

Total travel costs for those four excursions came to $75,994.96, with incidentals totalling $7,435.89, according to the report.

The city spent $183,547.09 on research, lead generation, project management and consulting fees, and another $63,925.69 on FDI marketing and events, the report said.

“Funding was made available through a Council resolution for the amount of $1,875,000, with a planned spend of $600,000 in 2019. The spend for 2019 from this FDI capital account was $361,749.76,” read the report to council from economic development director Clare Barnett.

Wards 7 and 8 Coun. Charmaine Williams travelled to Nigeria on a trade mission late last year, but the city said that trip wasn’t part of the FDI program and was paid for by the Nigerian High Commission. Mayor Brown and Williams returned to Nigeria earlier this month.

The city has four overseas FDI “investment missions” already planned for 2020. The first one saw Brown travel to India in January. There are also two European trips and another to China planned later this year, in addition to four stops in the United States.

“The plan includes business meetings in select U.S. cities that have strong connections to Brampton-based businesses. The goal is to target one U.S. city per quarter to promote investment in Brampton,” said Barnett.

According to estimates, the city expects to spend $300,000 on travel costs associated with the FDI program in 2020, in addition to $350,000 earmarked for research, lead generation, project management and consulting and another $250,000 on marketing and other costs, bringing the estimated 2020 total to $900,000.

While highlighting several networking opportunities and interest in potential investments in Brampton during the four 2019 trips, the city didn’t report any concrete commitments or deals with foreign companies.

“In the inaugural year of this strategy, staff raised the City’s profile as a competitive place to do business. By initiating lead generation activities on three international missions, a global marketing presence was established along with an awareness of Brampton’s profile and image as an ideal location for investment,” said Barnett in her council report.

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