Invest Week 28 November - 2 December 2016: Daily round up for 30 November


The third day of Invest Week on 30 November included 3 events: 

  • 'The contribution of real estate to vital, liveable cities', breakfast roundtable hosted by the European Real Estate Forum and the Urban Intergroup

  • ‘How to improve the investment horizons of European businesses’, event hosted by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey TOBB

  • ‘Venture capital and innovation in Europe and the US’, dinner hosted by the United States Ambassador to the European Union and Invest Europe



Attractive and liveable cities go hand in hand with real estate investment


Commercial property makes a major contribution to Europe’s growth, jobs and sustainability, pumping some €329 billion into the economy in 2015. A panel of experts gathered for Invest Week 2016 highlighted the ways their investments are making Hamburg, Paris and cities across the UK far better places to live and work.


  • Commercial real estate invests €252 billion annually in building refurbishment and development in Europe.

  • Real estate employs 3.7 million people, more jobs than the automotive/telecoms sectors combined, and is critical to achieving the EU’s energy and sustainability targets.

  • Investors call for the EU to complete the single market as they struggle with different rules in member states.


The professional knowledge that investors can bring is crucial to the development of cities; noted Jan Olbrycht, MEP. He called for them to be part of an ecosystem of decision-makers ‒ including policymakers, planners and citizens ‒ working together to achieve sustainable and accessible urban development.


HafenCity, a huge waterfront site in Hamburg, was cited as a great example. The waterfront is being renovated as an entirely new part of the city, extending its size by 40%.  The area is being made attractive for people to live, work and play with a vibrant mix of buildings, shops, restaurants and culture. ‘This mix creates a sustainable and viable community as well as a good return for investors,’ said Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg of HafenCity Hamburg. He pointed out that private investment (€10 billion) there exceeded public investment by a factor of three.


In the UK, Nick Manley from the University of Cambridge spotlighted Birmingham and Manchester, where private investment and the creation of shared spaces have tackled a post-industrial legacy of high unemployment and population decline. He noted that this is achieved by channelling the savings of millions of people into real estate through institutional investment yet he cautioned that policymakers should be aware of the big risks involved for investors.


Paris, this event’s third case study, has seen a more surgical approach. ‘We believe development on a building-by-building basis can be key to urban revitalisation,’ said Brigitte Sagnes Dupont, whose company Oreima has focused on projects in the city’s historic centre, preserving heritage through renovation.


How can Europe learn from these city developments, asked moderator Jeff Rupp. Participants noted the importance of sharing best practice with the public sector, developing infrastructure alongside real estate, mapping urban data and disincentives to investment, and benchmarking sustainable investment. According to Guido Verhoef, of PGGM, Europe is good at making long-term investments in cities, compared to the United States. But it must complete the single market, as it makes no sense for real estate investors from one EU country to struggle with different rules in another.


‘The contribution of real estate to vital, liveable cities’ breakfast roundtable

hosted by the European Real Estate Forum and the Urban Intergroup

on Wednesday, 29 November 2016




Jeff Rupp, Director of Public Affairs, INREV


Jan Olbrycht, Member of the European Parliament, President of the Urban Intergroup

Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, CEO, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH

Nick Mansley, Exec. Director, Real Estate Research Centre, Dept. of Land Economy, Univ. of Cambridge

Brigitte Sagnes Dupont, Executive Chairwoman, Oreima

Guido Verhoef, Head of Private Real Estate, PGGM


Good reasons for business optimism in Europe despite global turmoil


Europe’s economic situation will not change significantly in 2017 and will even enjoy moderate growth, according to a new survey by EUROCHAMBRES. At an InvestWeek 2016 event in Brussels, business experts and entrepreneurs examined some of today’s challenges and solutions to boosting European business.


  • For most European business indicators, from domestic and export sales to investment and employment, the outlook for 2017 is positive.

  • Business confidence across Europe remains fragile, due to the uncertain geopolitical situation within and beyond the continent — policymakers must take more action.

  • European companies say the main challenges are domestic demand, economic policy conditions, labour costs and a lack of skilled workers.


The event’s first panel revealed the results of the 2017 EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey. Most of the 50,000 European companies interviewed are moderately optimistic about the coming year, despite slow economic growth and international tensions. Europe’s priority now should be single market completion said Arnaldo Abruzzini of EUROCHAMBRES and Lúcio Mauro Vinhas de Souza of EPSC. Both agreed it is the EU’s greatest asset, before praising major new EU initiatives such as the Capital Markets Union and Banking Union.


In the second panel, ‘InvestHorizon — how to improve investment readiness of European business’, Prof. Colin Mason explored the challenges for entrepreneurs when raising funds. One solution is to focus less on their pitch and more on the market, product and so on. Good investment readiness programmes can address these areas. According to Teresa Cunha of Europe Unlimited, such programmes should focus on improving skills, increasing transparency, supporting access to market, developing leadership capacity and boosting peer-to-peer collaboration. The debate featured two young entrepreneurs. Nadira Azermai, founder and CEO of ScriptBook, knew nothing about raising finance until she did it herself: ‘Start-ups should be told this can be brutal: it took me seven long months, alongside running my software business.’ Sentiance started with family funding before tapping into venture capital. Vincent Joquet reckons VCs are the best headhunters for an entrepreneur, as they can call on their experience and networks.


Advisory services for business were debated in the final panel. Gaëlle Saint-Drenant, an advisor at CCI Pays de Loire, France talked about her region’s new coaching programme for entrepreneurs. ‘It focuses on business issues and the pitch, plus the technical side of raising funds,’ she said. Her Dutch colleague, Marijke van der Veen of the Kamer van Koophandel, noted that many small firms in her country have low financial literacy. Few even know they need to raise funds to grow and thrive. So her organisation offers them basic information on fund-raising plus personal support. ‘Finance is not just about finding money: entrepreneurs also need to track down opportunities and mentors,’ she concluded.


‘How to improve the investment horizons of European business’ panels

hosted by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey TOBB

on Wednesday, 30 November 2016



Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

Teresa Cunha, Senior Advisor, Europe Unlimited

Ben Butters, Policy Director, EUROCHAMBRES



Lúcio Mauro Vinhas de Souza, Team Leader of Economics Team, EPSC, EC

Arnaldo Abruzzini, CEO, EUROCHAMBRES

Prof. Colin Mason, University of Glasgow

Nadira Azermai, Founder & CEO, ScriptBook NV

Vincent Jocquet, VP Finance & Operations, Sentiance

Gaëlle Saint-Drenant, Chef de projet Financement des entreprises, CCI Pays de la Loire

Marijke van der Veen, Business Intelligence, Kamer van Koophandel



EU and US venture capital investment experiences compared during US Ambassador’s dinner


Mr. Michael Collins, the CEO of Invest Europe, and the US Ambassador to the EU, Mr. Anthony L. Gardner, co-hosted a dinner debate on ‘Venture Capital and Innovation in Europe and the US’ on 30 November. The dinner took place at the Ambassador’s residence in Brussels.


The debate brought together private equity and venture capital investors with EU policymakers to discuss what it takes to build a strong start-up ecosystem and share news of the innovations that are exciting investors today.


The investors attending included Dr. Gerry Murphy, Senior Managing Director and Chairman of The Blackstone Group and Mr. David Rubenstein, the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group. Mr. Frédéric Mazzella, founder of carpooling service BlaBlaCar took part as did Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission Vice-President responsible for the Euro, Social Dialogue and Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union.


‘Venture capital and innovation in Europe and the US’ – dinner hosted by the United States Ambassador to the European Union and Invest Europe

on Wednesday, 30 November 2016


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Daily round up for 30 November