Steven Jast

Founder and President
ROI Research on Investment
Montreal, QC, Canada

As President of ROI, Steven led the growth of ROI Research on Investment from a two-person start-up in 2003, to a Profit Magazine “Hot 50” company, having posted revenue growth over 300% and becoming Canada’s 26th fastest growing company in 2007. Steven was further recognized as a Finalist in the Ernst & Young International Entrepreneur of the Year Competition in 2008.

Steven is recognized as a thought leader in international economic development. Under Steven’s leadership ROI has developed world-class expertise in investment attraction, benchmark assessment and target industry analysis. Since 2003, ROI has worked with over 350 economic development organizations from around the world and has facilitated over $25 billion of investment, generating over 200,000 new jobs.

Steven has trained international economic development organizations on the fundamentals and best practices related to investment prospecting, business retention and attraction, as well as advanced nurturing and engagement techniques. Steven has further written several guidebooks and manuals for enhanced investment attraction efforts, on behalf of global investment attraction organizations.

Prior to founding ROI, Steven was Partner and Executive Vice President at CAI Corporate Affairs International, a boutique site selection practice. During his 10 years with CAI, Steven led the site selection and incentive negotiation efforts for large multinational organizations including Bridgestone/Firestone, Electrolux, Ericsson, ABB and SC Johnson, among others. While with CAI, Steven was part of the management team awarded the Gold level Achievement Award in the Private developers Economic Development category by Business Facilities magazine.

More recently, Steven has been leading an ambitious R&D effort to harness the power of big data and artificial intelligence in the world of investment attraction. Having built a team of PhD level mathematicians, economists and senior software engineers, Steven is exploring the capabilities of learning algorithms to detect companies in their earliest stages of expansion planning. Entitled “,” the platform was released as a prototype in January 2017. Since its release, the platform has been adopted by over 100 EDO’s in over a dozen countries, 15 US states and 6 Canadian provinces, amongst others.

Steven has been a featured speaker at numerous economic gatherings. Over the past 2 years Steven has presented at: Select USA, the International Economic Development Council, State International Development Organization, the Florida Economic Development Council Annual Conference, Council for Community and Economic Research, Global Carolina Connections, Ports to Plains Alliance, and the Texas Economic Development Council, among others.

Steven has been published across multiple media platforms on a variety of topics related to trade, FDI and corporate investment/attraction and has served on a number of charitable and business-related Boards.