Trade Mission to Europe Creates Utah Business Opportunities and Connections with Diverse Industries
SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary R. Herbert led a delegation of 23 Utah businesses and organizations on a trade mission to Switzerland, France and Italy from June 13 to 21, 2019. Throughout the trade mission, Utah delegation members participated in 52 meetings with international companies and organizations to accelerate worldwide growth for Utah companies, forge new relationships with key European business and government leaders and promote Utah as a global hub for trade and investment.
The trade mission began in Switzerland where the delegation visited UBS Bank and Stadler Rail to learn about their apprenticeship programs. In May 2019, Stadler hosted a grand opening to announce their first facility in North America, here in Salt Lake City, and UBS maintains a Salt Lake City financial advising office.
The delegation was able to learn how Stadler Rail and UBS use work-based learning to train new workers. Delegates met with several high-school-aged apprentices who are on a fast-track to high-paying careers. It was useful for the Talent Ready Utah team (Utah’s work-based learning initiative) to learn how both of these apprenticeships are working in Switzerland and how they can be applied to Utah’s apprenticeship programs.
“It was great to see all the wonderful things Stadler and UBS are doing with their apprenticeship programs,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “We’ll benefit from best practices and be more prepared as we continue to expand Utah’s workforce apprenticeship programs.”
While in Switzerland, the delegation also met with Partners Group, a global private markets investment manager with approximately $80 billion assets under management that operates across several business segments, including private equity, private debt, real estate and private infrastructure. Delegates discussed public-private partnerships and infrastructure investing. There are several large scale developments planned in Utah — including Point of the Mountain, the Inland Port, and Uintah Basin projects — that provide excellent opportunities for public-private partnerships. The discussion focused on specific actions Utah can take to increase the flow of international capital to the state to meet the infrastructure and social demands of Utah’s rapid growth.
In France, delegates met with leaders of Station F, the world’s largest business incubator. With over 3,000 workstations, Station F provides hundreds of startups with office space, management training and access France’s network of venture capital funds and large corporations. Representatives of France’s venture capital community and trade agencies participated in the discussions, which focused on best practices for technology and startup incubation as well as identifying opportunities to connect Utah’s tech and venture capital ecosystem with France’s innovation industry.
“Developing relationships with leaders at Station F and in France’s investment community not only helps Utah business and government leaders see how public and private players come together in France to fuel innovation, it also creates allies for Utah in a globally leading tech ecosystem,” said Miles Hansen, president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. “We look forward to using the insights we gained at Station F in the ongoing effort in Utah to develop a new model for technology incubation while also following up with our new partners at Station F to facilitate the development of collaborative ties between Utah and France’s tech ecosystems.”
Trade mission delegates also participated in the International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France. The Paris Air Show is the largest, longest-running aerospace trade show in the world. Running every other year, 2019 marks the 53rd show. The show brings more than 2,000 exhibitors from 48 countries, 142,000 professional visitors, 3,450 international journalists and 290 official delegations from 98 countries. Governor Herbert and members of the Utah delegation met with 11 aerospace companies, including Boeing, L3, Parker Aerospace, Airbus and Northrop Grumman.
Eight small and medium-sized Utah aerospace companies participated as exhibitors at the Paris Air Show, including ACT Aerospace, Borsight, ElectraFly, EP Systems, IMSAR, Kihomac, Optysis and RAM Company. These companies spent the week engaging with potential investors and clients to grow their businesses. For example, Barzan, an international aerospace and defense investment fund, met with Electrafly, EP Systems and Optysis to explore potential investment opportunities. Additionally, Borsight met with representatives from the Qatari Ministry of Defense to discuss opportunities for Borsight to expand its business in the Middle East.
Headquartered in Gunnison, Utah, ACT Aerospace participated in a State of Utah trade mission delegation for the first time. “In addition to the governor, several other key lawmakers and economic development personnel attended the show to promote Utah’s aerospace industry,” said Bret Ashton who manages business development for ACT Aerospace. “The opportunity to participate in the trade mission and to exhibit at the Paris Air Show allowed us to be identified and compete globally. Our time in Europe resulted in many new promising international connections that will increase our global footprint.”
The last stop on the trade mission was Italy. While there, the delegation visited Enel Green Power, the renewable company of the Enel Group, one of the world’s leading integrated electricity and gas operators with locations in more than 30 countries across five continents. The company’s U.S. renewable subsidiary, Enel Green Power North America, operates the 25-megawatt Cove Fort geothermal power plant in Beaver County, which was recently recognized for the innovative deployment of new maintenance software technology. The delegation toured Enel Green Power’s global control room and Enel creative space, while Gov. Herbert and his energy advisor, Laura Nelson, met with Antonio Cammisecra, head of Enel Green Power.
“Enel Green Power’s collaborative partnership and investment in Utah’s dynamic and expanding renewable energy landscape continues to drive exciting opportunities for energy success locally, regionally and internationally,” said Laura Nelson, the governor’s energy advisor. “We were pleased to meet with Mr. Cammisecra to discuss next-generation opportunities for powering a sustainable future and the role Utah can once again play in accelerating solutions for an affordable, reliable and cleaner energy outcome.”
The delegation also attended meetings with Farmindustria, the pharmaceutical branch of the General Confederation of Italian Industry. The delegation had the opportunity to establish connections with the Italian Biotech industry as well as discuss Utah’s life science industry. Utah life sciences companies also had several meetings with potential partners and distributors.
Gov. Herbert had a private meeting with the Prime Minister of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Cardinal Parolin is an adviser to Pope Francis on issues related to diplomacy and international affairs. The governor also met with the Under-Secretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, Mr. Andrea Cioffi. This meeting allowed for significant discussion on how to further economic ties between Italy and Utah.
“International business is big business in Utah,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “From large business to small, from farmers to manufacturers, Utah companies understand the importance of expanding their customers by expanding their markets. The trade mission to Zurich with a focus on rail and finance, the Paris Air Show, and Italy for agribusiness provided Utah businesses the opportunity to make connections and ultimately make their business more successful. The Chamber is proud to support the World Trade Center and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in expanding Utah’s global reach.”