A delegation is heading out to the United States of America (USA) from Bristol in a bid to boost business links between the two destinations.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and West of England Mayor Tim Bowles will lead the group, which will also contain representatives from the Department of International Trade (DiT) and Invest Bristol and Bath.
Jack Churchill – Great Grandson of Sir Winston Churchill – will also be on the trip, representing his South West based business Scanning Pens; alongside representatives from Sparkol, Yellowdog, Rixxo and Chipside.
To launch the trade missoin, law firm VWV hosted an event which brought together business leaders from the South West to learn about the historic links between the USA and Bristol; and also find out more about the trade mission to the USA.
Nathan Guest, who set up VWV’s tech division, opened the event before Mayor Marvin Rees talked to guests.
Politicians are often challenged for taking trips abroad, with criticism coming from people who feel they should be focusing just on the city and questioning the value of such trips.
Marvin tackled this head-on by saying: “I get challenged when I go abroad but we need to organise trips like this otherwise we will get left behind as a city. I get a tyre track across my back for having a global outlook but we have to think and act in an international context because this means more investment and jobs.
“Bringing business and civic leaders together to show the USA what we can offer as a city can only be positive.
“There is a wider point too – we can’t leave our city’s future to government, because if we do it will mean leaving a million pounds worth of talent on the shelf whilst wealth goes running for the hills. Boosting trade links with the USA is part of securing our future.”
As part of the trip, the group will travel right across the USA – which is the UK’s largest long-haul market – including stops in New York, Chicago and Boston.
The West of England Combined Authority and Invest Bristol and Bath are leading members of the regional trade delegation to the US cities alongside Bristol City Council, Business West and partners.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, comments: “This is an important trade delegation that will build on our current relationships with US businesses, develop new relationships to help us to secure investment and highly skilled jobs for the region. Invest Bristol and Bath, our inward investment team, has a strong track record of attracting businesses to the West of England region, including global players such as Strava.
“We have much in common with Boston and Chicago, which share our strength in high tech innovation and its application to real-world challenges including clean growth and connectivity.”
Business Leader will be following the trip and reporting the results. More to follow.