With the global pandemic preventing face-to-face meetings and travel, the Government of Western Australia partnered with Anglo-Australian tech firm Newfound to lead a virtual trade mission to the UK over 15-17 September.
Timed to coincide with London Tech Week, nine innovative Western Australian tech companies participated in the multi-day program to meet potential clients and investors and engage in interactive sessions to ready their companies to expand into the dynamic British technology market.
Last year, London became the backdrop for a week-long festival of tech and innovation as London Tech Week in June brought together over 58,000 attendees from 95 countries to attend their 300 events. This year London Tech Week was postponed to September and turned virtual, still set to maintain its position as one of the world’s biggest technology conferences.
The WA startups and scaleups selected to join the virtual trade mission led by the Government of Western Australia and Newfound were Noisy Guts, Safe Watch Global, Space Industries, OviDrive, Mortgage Mates, ReviseOnline, Accounts Flow, Quipmo and Credenxia.
Participating companies had the opportunity to launch their companies into the heart of the UK tech ecosystem which contributed £149 billion to the British economy (Tech Nation, 2020). Despite the pandemic, UK tech firms raised over £4.2 billion in the five months to the end of May 2020 (Digital Economy Council, 2020) and with nearly three million tech employees across the country, the UK remains an attractive destination for companies looking to expand from their domestic market.
The innovative virtual trade mission format enabled the companies to engage with their peers from across WA whilst accessing world-class entrepreneurs and VCs through interactive workshops, including advice from those companies who have already successfully made the leap into the UK. The programme concluded with a Pitch Day hosted by leading corporate innovation specialists.
The selected WA tech companies were also invited to join a virtual programme over 7-9 September organised by the UK Department for International Trade’s Australian team. In these sessions they got to hear directly from Aussie and Kiwi founders who set up in the UK, as well as gaining insight to UK visas and immigration, R&D and grants programmes and virtually visit the regions of Manchester, Birmingham, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
One of the trade mission participants Dr Josephine Muir, CEO of Noisy Guts said:
“The Virtual Trade Mission helped Noisy Guts bridge the 14,000+ km gap between Perth and London during a global pandemic. Hearing from other Aussie and Kiwi founders who had made the leap was incredibly insightful. From ‘boots-on-the-ground’, developing an international sales strategy, visiting Manchester’s digital health showcase to tailoring our pitch to savvy UK investors, the VTM was the perfect opportunity to think about and challenge our global expansion strategy”.
About Government of Western Australia’s London Office:
The Government of Western Australia’s trade and investment office in London can assist WA businesses with international growth. WA tech companies can use the London office as a virtual launching pad for entering the UK, European and Israeli markets. The office has knowledge on the technology sector and the broader economic opportunities in the UK, Europe and Israel region.
“We see the facilitation of international growth for WA companies ultimately leading to flow-on benefits for Western Australia – such as enhanced recognition for WA as a centre for tech and the creation of more jobs in their Australian offices,” said Charlotta Kemp, Trade and Investment Manager.