Foreign governments use SXSW to cultivate international business
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South by Southwest Interactive had a certain international feel to it this year.
Businesses from Chile, Germany, England, Canada, and Finland all had a presence at the trade show.
The United Kingdom’s Trade and Investment Organization—or UKTI—spent about 200,000 pounds to help the more than 1,500 British delegates at SXSW.
"It is largely about bringing back international money to the U.K. to help the U.K. economy,” Pip McEvoy with UTKI said. “We are all struggling at the moment. It is vitally important."
One of the biggest ways the United Kingdom's government is helping its businesses is by setting up a speed-meeting arena. Over two days, more than 250 15-minute meetings are scheduled to bring businesses and investors together.
"That's a big deal because they are busy people and finding exactly the right person who cares about it is challenging," Irish developer Graham Robertson said.
Robertson said he has neither the resources nor the pull to arrange these important meetings—that’s where the UKTI steps in.
“That's a special thing that only coming face to face in a conference can give you," Robertson said.
The U.K. is happy to leverage its power to grow business.
"I don't think any market can exist solely on its domestic market and domestic sales, so everybody has to look to exports to achieve the kind of growth we need to recover from the current recession," McEvoy said.
While many countries are present, Great Britain is the only foreign nation with its own music venue. The British music embassy has a full lineup this week, but Wednesday they are opening up to the public. Go to BritishGuest List.info for more.