Twenty one Glasgow companies flew out today (Saturday May 8) to New York and Boston on the largest-ever trade visit from the city to the USA.
The companies will take part in an intensive five-day Monday to Friday programme aimed at informing them about the market in the Eastern seaboard of America, and ultimately identifying new customers and winning business.
The programme includes, in New York, a trade briefing at the British Consulate-General, working meetings with Scottish Development International, a meeting with the international business director of the Mayor’s Office, and, in Boston, a trade briefing with local officials of HSBC Bank and a visit to Harvard Business School – as well as networking occasions where they will come in direct contact with key Scots operating in the New York and Boston and American businesses.
SCDI chief executive Dr Lesley Sawers said: “New York and Boston are directly accessible by air from Glasgow. These visits offer companies an excellent opportunity and support to undertake in-market research, identify new customers and win business. New York has re-invented and re-invigorated itself in recent times, creating the world's biggest and best city brand. I believe our companies will learn much from this trip.
“The United States remains Scotland’s top export market at £3.1bn per annum. Both cities offer excellent potential as markets in their own right with key sectors complementing the strength of offering from Glasgow businesses including, construction, education and training, life sciences, transport, and creative industries.
“As a city, Glasgow has grown through the benefits of international trade, and we are delighted to be working in partnership with the City Council and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to support Glasgow businesses in meeting their international trade ambitions.
SCDI has firmly established itself as the premier body for trade visits, having taken over 5000 Scottish companies on 350 trips to overseas markets in its 50 years of international activity.
The US visit is especially relevant this year, as SCDI’s links to New York will be reinforced in November when, in recognition of SCDI's 50 years of delivering international success, Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, will address 850 guests at Scotland's International Awards at the Thistle Hotel, Glasgow.
Glasgow City Council is supporting the SMEs taking part in the week-long US trip with funding towards travel costs. Councillor George Ryan, executive member for business, said: “To secure Glasgow’s long-term economic success the Council and its partner agencies must continue developing a supportive environment for business growth. This trade visit to the USA provides an excellent opportunity for our home-grown businesses to expand their capabilities and productivity by breaking into new markets and creating international business connections. It also demonstrates Glasgow’s offering to a global market place.”
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said: “It is vital that in the current economic climate we maximise all opportunities and work in partnership to deliver sustainable economic growth for the city. Internationalisation is key to growing and building successful businesses and Glasgow companies across a variety of sectors are well placed to grow and build their international networks. The USA is a key market for Glasgow and Scotland, and I'm delighted that our members are taking part in this imaginative programme.”
Glasgow Airport is supporting the trip by providing Fast Track parking and security for the delegates, as well as complimentary access to their skylounge facility. Managing director Amanda McMillan said: “We are delighted to be supporting this Glasgow trade visit to the East coast of the US as we have a direct link to Newark via Continental Airlines and business travellers are very important to us.”
Among those in the trade party is Alan Lorimer, CEO of infrastructure company EQSN, which provides high availability networks connected to the internet. He said: “Some of our existing customers require infrastructure in the US and our purpose in going to New York and Boston is to visit and select data centres that we can use to allow our customers to offer services there. A further objective is to meet potential customers in the US who have a requirement for hosted infrastructure in Europe.”
The US trip is the first in a programme of funded visits to key overseas markets with direct links to the city – organised by a partnership of the SCDI, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.
Visits to Poland and the United Arab Emirates will follow in September and next January respectively.
All three trade visits will be evaluated following the visits, measuring the amount of business achieved against the level of investment and support provided by the partnership.