Seven Welsh companies are in Houston this week (July 7-11) for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference – a global gathering of top Microsoft partners from 160 countries.

The visit, co-ordinated and supported by the Welsh Government as part of its international trade programme, will open up international networking opportunities with other partners and Microsoft employees.

The focus of the conference, which attracts 16,000 delegates from all over the world, is on the modern era of computing including cloud, devices and mobility and big data.

There are more than 500 speakers lined up for the week – specialists in key subjects driving the technology sector worldwide, including business growth strategies and sales and marketing, while Microsoft Corporation’s CEO Steve Ballmer and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner will give keynotes speeches.

Welsh businesses visiting Houston this week include Cardiff-based Circle IT Solutions Ltd, Method4 Ltd and Sequence, Swansea-based Kaimai Research Ltd and Nuvola Logic, Net Support UK Ltd, which has operations in Chepstow and Cardiff, and Pugh Computers Ltd from Aberystwyth.

Richard Baker, chief executive officer at Sequence, said: “We were extremely keen to go to this year’s Microsoft World Partner Conference after winning Microsoft World Wide Partner of the year in the mobility category last year.

“We feel it is imperative to keep abreast of the developments within Microsoft and to make new connections and maintain strong, existing relationships. We have planned many meetings during the conference and we are excited to see what may come of these.

“We have our sales director, Paul Thomas, participating in a panel discussion about the future of apps and mobility and we’ve also made a short documentary film/global case study about our project for the British & Irish Lions that we are really excited about, which will be shown to all attendees of the conference.

“We want to take the work we’ve done with Microsoft and the Lions and build new business on the back of this great experience.”

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “This is a key event for Microsoft partners and a great opportunity for Welsh companies to meet like minded businesses, explore collaborative working on a global level and to understand the direction in which Microsoft is heading.

“The event will also provide an opportunity for these companies to highlight their expertise in what is one of our key sectors while Welsh Government officials will be promoting Wales as a great location for businesses looking to expand their operations.”

The Welsh firms are all certified Microsoft Partners, providing Microsoft-related products or services on behalf of the computer giant. This gives the companies 24-hour access to Microsoft support, which enables them to give better customer relations and support to their customers.

Circle IT, Net Support UK and Pugh Computers are all Microsoft Gold Certified Partners, the most highly accredited independent support providers, and Sequence is a Microsoft Silver Partner.