The First Minister will be leading a delegation of 19 Welsh companies from a number of sectors including life sciences, ICT, and the creative industries to promote trade and potential inward investment in Wales. Silicon Valley is a renowned hub for the incubation and development of emerging technologies. With a GDP of $487 billion (2009), the bay area ranks 22nd in the world when compared to national economies and is at the cutting edge of global technology.
The First Minister will meet with business, political and academic leaders in San Francisco and Silicon Valley to highlight Wales’ long culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, collaboration and opportunities for transatlantic success.
Among the companies joining the First Minister will be Rantmedia, Simbec Research, BSP Technology, Licentia Group, Caerbont Automotive, City School of Languages, SEASUK, Kaimai Research and GL Jones Playgrounds.
Today (Mon 11th Feb) the First Minister will meet the Mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee and hold talks with the economic development officials from the Governor’s Office. Over the four day trade mission, the First Minister will also be holding talks with the high-profile and very significant California based technology companies and institutions, including the Silicon Valley Bank. The British Consul General in San Francisco will give the First Minister a briefing on the trade opportunities in the area, as will the Jaclyn Mason, head of UK Trade & Invest in the city.
The First Minister said:
"The United States remains the world’s premier economic power and engaging with businesses there is essential for Wales. That is why I am in San Francisco to lead a Welsh Government trade mission with a focus on innovation. The city and wider area enjoys world-class status, with thriving business and academic communities.
"This is an opportunity to learn from this vibrant market and to seek out opportunities for Wales and Welsh companies. It is vitally important in my role as First Minister that I seek to build relationships that will open doors for Welsh business.
"A number of Welsh businesses are here with me for this unique opportunity to explore the potential for Welsh businesses to tap into this market and explore investment opportunities. As well as a series of business events I will be holding talks with the Mayor of San Francisco. International trade is vitally important for the Welsh economy and Welsh Government overseas missions are tailored to help businesses make the most of the all the opportunities presented."
One of the companies joining the First Minister will be Cardiff based Rantmedia, one of Wales’ foremost apps agency. The company is riding high and reaping the benefits of having its latest app selected, highlighted and featured internationally by Apple.
MD Anton Faulconbridge said he couldn’t have asked for a better endorsement which not only increased sales, resulting in a ‘huge‘ number of downloads recorded, but it raised the profile of Rantmedia globally.
Apple, who are based in San Francisco, has a review team that selects the most noteworthy apps from around the world that it will feature in any given week – some are featured in local market places such as the UK and some are featured internationally. Apple featured Rantmedia’s Vectrex Regeneration app internationally for more than two weeks - a tremendous boost for the company.
Anton now intends to build on this exposure whilst in San Francisco with the First Minister. Anton Faulconbridge said the US is their biggest target market and they have a number of clients based in the States. He said:
"Rantmedia’s profile was raised considerably by being featured by Apple. It’s an accolade that every app agency in the world is striving for – and fortunately this was followed by highly complimentary online coverage featured in around 300 news outlets around the world.
"We aim to make the most of this publicity and build on our high profile during our visit to San Francisco where we have a number of interviews lined up with technology news outlets, gaming press and bloggers.
"These trade missions provide incredible value and are extremely important for business. They enable us to build stronger relationships with key individuals and organisations – which is far easier to do face-to-face than over the phone or by email. Having Welsh Government backing also helps as it underscores our credentials and opens opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have."