Cities Recycle Their Amazon Pitches to Attract New Business

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Some U.S. cities are studying one thing this yr from Amazon: learn how to promote themselves.

Lots of the 20 cities shortlisted as websites for the retail large’s second headquarters are utilizing the multimedia shows they created for Inc.’s software to pitch to different firms.

“We have already got seen companies which have expressed curiosity in Philadelphia and have instructed us they had been pushed particularly by what they noticed in our pitch to Amazon,” says Sylvie Gallier Howard, Philadelphia’s first deputy commerce director.

Amazon’s request for proposals solicited a number of data, from the scale of town’s tech expertise pool to its airport and connections to Seattle. Whereas tailor-made partially to Amazon’s wants, the proposals highlighted features together with high quality of life, housing availability and price, transportation choices and different qualities that might show engaging to a variety of employers. Whereas many of the proposals had been saved non-public, they ranged in format from shiny books with footage, charts and maps to shows with video interviews of native enterprise leaders, entrepreneurs and college students.

Final fall, the founder and chief government at Elm Companions had been drafting a headquarters checklist of their very own, as they deliberate to maneuver the small algorithmic funding agency from London to the U.S. The founder’s youngsters would quickly all be within the U.S. together with his youngest hoping to attend school in Philadelphia, mentioned Chief Government James White. Philadelphia was excessive on their checklist, however they didn’t know town nicely and had been contemplating extra acquainted terrain in large cities reminiscent of New York, Los Angeles and Boston.

Then, a pal despatched a hyperlink to the video Philadelphia put collectively as a part of its Amazon pitch.

“The video simply resonated with us rather well,” Mr. White mentioned. The piece highlighted Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial group and its burgeoning meals scene. It helped push town to the highest of their checklist, and the corporate started its transfer to Philadelphia in January.

He had by no means lived in Philadelphia earlier than, Mr. White mentioned, “however this made us really feel OK about taking that danger.”

Toronto World, the regional group that coordinated and launched the world’s Amazon bid on-line, has counted greater than 15,000 downloads of its bid as of final month. The group refers firms to the net bid, mentioned spokeswoman Julia Sakas. When Toronto World has reached out to some potential firms, it has realized corporations have already got seen the net ebook and pulled info from it.

The Ontario Funding Workplace took copies of the proposal to the Cell World Congress in Barcelona, a cellular trade convention and exhibition. Toronto World’s workforce takes knowledge from the ebook and customizes it for different potential firms, Ms. Sakas mentioned.

There’s a danger, in fact, that cities and states overspend in providing incentives to woo firms. Whereas firms promise jobs and investments, these don’t all the time materialize as anticipated.

Locations together with Philadelphia, Toronto, Indianapolis and Newark, N.J., have acquired an uptick of inquiries from firms, some citing the digital brochures created for the Amazon bid, officers within the cities mentioned.

Newark has acquired consideration each for unexpectedly making the shortlist and for its eye-popping $7 billion bundle of state and metropolis incentives. Virtually 50 firms and different teams in Newark volunteered employees and experience to assist with town’s proposal. Calls from firms in search of industrial house in addition to requests for details about real-estate growth have elevated considerably since Newark made the shortlist in January, metropolis officers mentioned. Invites for metropolis officers to talk on financial growth, enterprise, actual property, tech and urban-planning panels have doubled.

Inquiries from firms, real-estate builders and trade organizations in search of a convention and trade-show vacation spot additionally spiked, mentioned Aisha Glover, chief government officer of Newark Neighborhood Financial Improvement Company.

“We’ve needed to show ourselves for fairly a while,” Ms. Glover mentioned. “The explanation why that is our turning level is as a result of being shortlisted has cosigned town and all the things we have now been saying.”

In Philadelphia, metropolis growth officers mentioned they’re engaged on a brand new model of the web site that can widen its goal from Amazon to a broader array of companies and organizations—a course of they name “deAmazonification.”

Write to Keiko Morris at and Laura Stevens at

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