By Kate Madley

Creative companies in Wales will be heading for Hollywood and Silicon Valley in September to showcase the products and talent of this fast growing sector.

Organised by Global Academy, with the support of the Welsh Government, the mission will attend an event at Sony Studios, Los Angeles – Innovation in Entertainment – and meet technology companies in Silicon Valley (San Jose).

The visit builds on the contacts made by a smaller delegation to California in March when representatives of the sector and the Welsh Government met executives from Silicon Valley giants such as Yahoo! Google and Microsoft.

“We are aiming for between 10 and 15 companies to come on the September trade mission,” said Richie Turner, Head of Marketing and External Relations at Global Academy.

“Global Academy sees it as an opportunity to showcase the creativity and innovation of Welsh companies and begin to build long-term business relationships. Companies will have time to secure individual meetings with target customers and investors.”

Creative industries in Wales employ more than 30,000 people and generate more than £1.8 billion in turnover annually. Between 2005 and 2009, the sector grew 23%.

The six-day trip will begin with a visit to the Irish Innovation Center in San Jose, which has helped more than 200 companies develop links with Silicon Valley companies or investors through its network of over 5,000 senior executives. The Center is extending its shared office facilities to the visiting Welsh companies through its partnership with Global Academy.

The highlight of the Hollywood leg of the trip will be the Innovation in Entertainment event on September 27, giving Welsh companies an opportunity to network with major Hollywood players.

The event will focus on the latest developments in entertainment and media technology and attendees will be drawn from the film, television, digital effects, animation, media, mobile, gaming, venture capital and technology industries, including world-leading companies such as Dreamworks, HBO, Warner Brothers and Sony.

The keynote speakers confirmed so far are Chuck Labella, Vice President Talent Relations NBC Universal, and Una Fox, Vice President Walt Disney Corporate Technology Group.

“The Welsh Government was keen to support this trade mission to develop relationships with technology businesses in California,” said Paul Osbaldeston, Senior Business Development Manager at the Welsh Government.

“Businesses who take part in this visit will have the opportunity to develop new contacts in the technology industry and gain access to the Irish Innovation Center’s facilities. On-going benefits for businesses will be a continued working relationship with the center and access to their network.”

The trade mission takes place from September 22 to 28, with the Welsh Government is providing funding support for up to ten companies. Welsh businesses are encouraged to apply for 50% assistance for flights, accommodation and entry to the Innovation in Entertainment event. For more information visit www.globalacademy.org.uk, for details about funding available contact details creative.industries@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Photo: Juan Camilo Bernal / Shutterstock.com