Some of you may not be familiar with the trade mission concept but I think they’re one of our best kept secrets in the industry. The UKTI puts these trips together to help SMEs do real business abroad in a particular sector. In this case, the location is the West Coast of the USA and the sector is interactive media (which of course, includes mobile media). If you’re accepted on to the mission, you’ll get to meet key decision makers from leading entertainment and media companies at their US offices. Last year, this included visits to Facebook, Apple, Warner Bros Technical Operations, Sony Pictures Digital Networks, Lionsgate Digital, Evite.com, Smule, Current Media, as well as agencies like IDEO, Astor Studios and the Ant Farm. In addition to that, there were two networking receptions and a round table on doing business in Silicon Valley. And this year’s will be developed along similar lines.
I’m told that in attending a trade mission like this, you’ll have a chance to build your international profile and gain an understanding of the interactive media market in the US. And let’s face it, like it or loathe it, Silicon Valley is pretty important to us mobilists. And not only that, you’ll meet interesting people both in the US and also fellow UK companies travelling with you from complementary sectors. I’ve heard very good things about the recent trade missions to Boston, China and SXSWi in Austin and I’m reliably informed that they do represent value for money and the UKTI work very hard on your behalf to organise relevant meetings and introductions for those on the trip.
Major opportunities exist for UK companies who provide innovative digital media products, services or applications within the following sectors and disciplines:
• Social/mobile interactions
• Digital Display
The mission will run from 8 – 12 November 2010 in Los Angeles and San Francisco but you can stay longer if you wish. The companies don’t have to travel together.
This doesn’t come free, but it does come very reasonably priced. And depending on where you’re based in the UK, there may be additional help to co-fund your trip so it’s worth asking. The basic cost is £600 plus the cost of your flights and accommodation. BA currently has a deal offering 15% discount to Mission participants via the UKTI, but you may find better deals using Kayak or Skyscanner and I think there may be some deals going with Virgin at the moment. And if you have friends to stay with in LA and SFO, even better as that brings the price down even further for you. AirBnB might also be worth a look for the bootstrappers amongst you. It’ll be worth shopping around I expect.
To find out more about this opportunity, it’s worth taking a look at http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/event/116453.html where you can download an application form and also the flyer outlining what kind of companies are welcome to apply. And if you have more questions, then please contact Andrew Wilson on 0191 281 5777 or email him and he’ll be happy to help – he’s in charge of organising this particular mission.
Closing date to apply is 17 September so best get those application forms in. It doesn’t cost to apply in the first instance. The cost is only if you’re accepted on the programme.
Sounds great – wish I was going!