By Daniel Hunter
Wales will host an international investment conference which will create jobs and growth for the UK, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart announced today (Wednesday).
The conference follows the NATO Summit in September 2014 and will be entitled ‘Embracing new technology for competitive advantage’. The conference will be held on 20 to 21 November at Celtic Manor, Newport.
It will focus on new technologies and will be supported by the UK and Welsh governments including UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), presenting Wales and the rest of the UK as an outstanding environment for business growth and investment. This year’s annual inward investment figures from UKTI showed that Wales attracted 79 foreign investment projects in 2013 to 2014, the highest level in 24 years, creating or safeguarding over 10,000 jobs.
The report also showed that across the UK 66,390 new jobs were created, the highest since 2001. In total 1,773 investment projects were set up by foreign businesses in the UK during 2013 to 2014.
The announcement will be made on a visit to Sony UK Technology Centre where a range of high-tech products are manufactured including the innovative Raspberry Pi computers.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
"Wales is already home to many successful companies. Some started here whilst others have come here to invest and grow. This conference provides a good opportunity to show Wales’ strengths as an excellent place to do business and one that is open to foreign investment. The government’s industrial strategy is giving businesses the confidence to invest over the long term, creating the type of high skilled jobs this country needs to thrive in the future. This will help create a stronger and fairer economy in Wales and the rest of the UK."
Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:
"While the NATO Summit provides an opportunity to promote Wales to the world, this investment conference will enable us to specifically showcase what Wales can offer the world of business and industry. The UK Investment Summit will focus on a range of emerging technologies that will allow us to highlight Welsh expertise in this field across a range of key industries.
"The pioneering work and research and development being undertaken by specialist academic institutions and companies in Wales is of international interest. Coupled with high-performance computing capability and access to world class facilities, Wales has a compelling proposition to offer potential inward investors that want to grow their businesses."
Since 1968 the Japanese company Sony has invested significantly in the UK and has a wide range of activities from manufacturing broadcast and professional cameras and camera systems in Wales, to mobile, games development and global treasury operations with the company’s European headquarters based in Weybridge.
Raspberry Pi originally made its credit card-sized computers in China, but Sony’s factory in Pencoed has enabled them to reshore the work to South Wales in August 2012, and now employs between 70 and 100 people. More than 3.5 million Raspberry Pis have been sold worldwide and one will be given to each of the foreign leaders attending the NATO summit.
While in Wales the Business Secretary will also visit Renishaw in Pontyclun, a company which makes 3D printers used in sectors as diverse as aerospace and dentistry; and Concrete Canvas in Pontypridd, which produces an innovative new material that becomes highly waterproof when rolled out, supporting major construction projects in extreme environments, including protecting pipelines at the bottom of the sea. Both companies have been awarded the Queen’s Award for innovation.
Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said:
"Wales is home to some of the most successful international companies in the world and this conference will highlight why it’s such a great place to invest. The conference will showcase the growth of the high tech sector in Wales and our growing reputation for excellence in this area.
"We want to build a lasting legacy following the NATO Summit and this conference will promote all that is good about investing in Wales. It will also highlight how Welsh firms can exploit opportunities in growing export markets, putting Wales front and centre in the global race."