UKTI delegation hailing from the US, Asia and Europe pays visit to region’s creative and digital hub

Cutting-edge creative and digital businesses from the Bristol and Bath region were showcased in front of a delegation of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) representatives from around the world at a recent event hosted by Invest Bristol & Bath.

The inward investment agency welcomed the delegation to the Engine Shed in Bristol to hear about the latest innovations coming out of the region’s thriving creative and digital cluster. The businesses involved were winners of The SPARKies awards 2014, which recognise the best of the tech sector in the West.

The delegation of 80, which included 45 representatives from overseas markets with the remainder based in the UK, was visiting Bristol for a UKTI training conference, but Invest Bristol & Bath took the opportunity to host the showcase event with support from TechSPARK.

The UKTI representatives hailed from locations including the United States, including Boston and Los Angeles; Europe, including Germany, France and Austria; and Asia, including China and Japan. Their role is to promote UK plc and look for investment opportunities. Those who attended this latest event were focused particularly on the creative and digital sectors, which are key strengths of the Bristol and Bath economy.

Matthew Cross, inward investment director at Invest Bristol & Bath, said: “Our UKTI visitors from across the globe were treated to a fantastic showcase from cutting-edge innovators from the Bristol and Bath region’s world-class, fast-growing creative and digital cluster.  It was an excellent opportunity for businesses to speak in front of an international audience and many of the participating companies have already attracted further interest off the back of the event.”

Ben Trewhella, managing director at Opposable Games, one of the businesses involved in the event, said: “Opposable Games was thrilled to be invited to the UKTI event at the Engine Shed.  As well as an excellent chance to catch up with the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving South West tech and startup sector, we had the pleasure of introducing UKTI representatives from half the world to the exciting new world of ‘virtual reality’, an experience none of them will be forgetting based on the smiles and shouts of surprise.

“On the back of this, we have received interest from many countries to send speakers and attendees to next year’s SouthWestVR conference, held in Bristol, which is already shaping up as a key focal point in this new emerging industry.  In addition, we were able to show off the Pesky gNATs game-based therapy we developed for Handaxe Limited, and have now began conversations about other areas where games meet health to positively impact society, both in the UK and other countries.”

James Carroll, director Evil Twin Artworks Limited, which also participated in the showcase, said:  “I thoroughly enjoyed the event. It was great to meet people who were genuinely enthusiastic about our business. My aim was awareness of our game Victory At Sea. We wanted to reach out to press as well as look at further retail opportunities in unexplored markets – we have got some interesting leads in both regards! Our next target is looking for funding for our next projects and felt the event helped with this as well.  I was impressed with the scope and professionalism of the other companies and I feel I was in good company!”

The businesses were positioned in various locations within the Engine Shed so that the UKTI representatives could hear from each of them individually.