Research reveals Richmond Region not on the location list

Third-party study quizzed executives on familiarity of region, assets

The Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP), the lead regional public-private economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia, recently commissioned third-party perception research to determine the likeliness of locating an economic development project to the Richmond Region. Key job-creating decision makers, including both business executives and site location consultants, were targeted in the quantitative online study.

The study, conducted by Development Counsellors International, surveyed 150 c-suite executives in the U.S. and Europe as well as site location consultants for their perceptions of the region during October 2018.

The results show strong familiarity among international executives with the Richmond Region name however 40 percent of business executives know little else about the region’s assets.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Those surveyed were familiar with the Richmond Region’s Finance & Insurance and Information Technology industries. Business executives were least familiar with the area’s Corporate Services and Food & Beverage sectors.
  • Greater Richmond’s key location and proximity to major Northeast markets were the biggest strength cited by executives and consultants. They also found the labor force to be a major asset as well as access to Washington, D.C.; quality of life; higher education; and strong transportation infrastructure.
    • However, when asked about strengths of the region 40 percent of executives stated they did not know enough about the region to adequately answer.
  • While awareness of the region is high among site location consultants due in part to GRP’s outreach marketing program, executives were less familiar with the area. The region’s greatest weakness according to the study is “lack of identity/brand.” Other factors included air service/accessibility; lack of available real estate; labor shortages; and lack of incentives.
  • When it comes to site selection criteria, the region scored well overall on quality of life; talent recruitment; K-12 education; and available skilled workforce.
  • When considering Greater Richmond along with peer competitors, there were major differences in where consultants would suggest a location. While the region scored higher than Northern Virginia or Hampton Roads, Greater Richmond trailed Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Nashville and Columbus in consideration among consultants.

The Greater Richmond Partnership is currently discussing ways in which to ramp up marketing the region to address these perception issues.

For more information, contact GRP Senior Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Wakefield at jwakefield@grpva.com.

About the Greater Richmond Partnership

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional public-private economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

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