British Courting Area Firms

Baltimore Business Journal
By Roger Hughlett, Staff
September 20, 2002

The British Embassy is using the Internet to connect technology companies in the Baltimore-Washington area with governments and potential partners in the United Kingdom.

The British government's investment arm, known as Invest-UK, has teamed with Washington, D.C.-based TradeBuilders Inc. to create what organizers are calling a "virtual trade mission."

"With travel and the economy being what they are today, it makes sense for us to introduce companies to each other over the Internet," said Dave Feldman, vice consul for Invest-UK.

The three-week event runs from Sept. 23 through Oct. 11 and targets four technology sectors: Internet security, data mining, electronic government and financial services.

"These are the hottest areas and ones we see the most potential in now," Feldman said.

The event, which features online introductions and question-and-answer forums along with a live videoconference, is being funded by economic development agencies and companies in both countries.

Corporate sponsors of the event include England-based Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd.; Chantilly, Va.-based Sonic Telecom Ltd., and global teleconferencing firm; New York-based Greenberg Traurig LLP, a law firm; a England-based Oury Clark, an accounting firm.

The Greater Baltimore Technology Council, the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Washington DC Technology Council are helping organize the trade mission.

So far, however, companies in Greater Baltimore have been slow to register for the event. Invest-UK's Feldman said he wasn't sure of any local companies that plan to participate at this time.

Chris Rossi, vice president of sales for Virgin Atlantic Airways, said his company is sponsoring and participating because of the business relationships that could be started with the click of a mouse.

"It's a great avenue for companies to conduct preliminary research to understand the potential of a foreign market," Rossi said.

2002 American City Business Journals Inc.

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