Quebec recently went to the polls for its provincial elections. The result will likely not have much of an impact or draw much press outside of the province. Perhaps the most interesting aspect will be the resemblance of one of the party leaders to Lucius Malfoy

While the Quebec ballot is a paper ballot, there has been a lot of talk recently about electronic voting, and this certainly seems like the way of the future. The biggest challenge is clearly the security of such solutions, and many experts predict that it will be years before there is technology in place to ensure its safety and reliability. If you are looking to find some of the trailblazers in the cybersecurity field, we’ve tracked just under a hundred companies that have closed funding in the past couple of years on Gazelle.ai.

Politics often plays an important role in economic development and investment attraction. The most prominent example in the past couple of years has been the slowly rumbling trade dispute between the White House and China. And Canada. And Europe. What began as promises on the campaign trail have led to actions that are destabilizing some long-standing trade relationships.

It is not always clear cut which industries are going to be impacted, or how long the impact will last. Our friends at Parker Poe, Adams & Bernstein recently posted a piece explaining the recent decision to backtrack on tariffs on selected, seemingly random products. These actions keep economic developers on their toes…

Some of our American clients have seen a sharp decrease in leads from Europe as a response from this. Although at ROI, we have experienced a decrease in conversion rates and lead volume from Europe to the US, there is still interest. As crazy as it may seem, these policies are pushing some companies to consider manufacturing in the US to try and sidestep them.

In terms of BRE activities, economic developers have to stay on top of the potential impact on their existing base. Manufacturers of electronics have been severely impacted. Some of these companies moved their manufacturing to China in the 90s, and they are now facing a direct challenge to their business model. Do they consider manufacturing in the US? Can they manufacture in the US?

Cedar Electronics, for example, is an Illinois-headquartered electronics manufacturer that supplies CB radios, among other things. For this company, manufacturing in the US is a challenge, as their components are produced almost exclusively in China, and would also be impacted by tariffs… If I were an economic developer in their region, I’d be sitting down with their leadership to talk about their supply chain to try and help them find local alternatives. And if that weren’t possible, to try and attract those companies to the region.

Are you aware of the impact of tariffs on your existing business? Have you reviewed your BRE strategy lately? Do you need help in reaching out to and engaging with your existing business base? Reach out to us – we would be delighted to help!