01 June 2011

During May, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative and the Gatwick Diamond Business Association (Cadia) jointly hosted an inward trade mission from Atlanta, Georgia.

During May, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative and the Gatwick Diamond Business Association (Cadia) jointly hosted an inward trade mission from Atlanta, Georgia comprised of key business leaders, opinion formers and educational leaders. The purpose was to raise the area’s profile as a prime inward investment location and gateway to Europe and form links between educational hubs, resulting in knowledge transfer.

Ten mission participants were flown to Gatwick in Delta’s BusinessElite class courtesy of Delta, for whom the Atlanta-Gatwick business route is key. Demonstrating Gatwick’s superior connectivity, the delegation was provided with first class travel on the Gatwick Express between Gatwick and Brighton by Southern Railways and OFJ provided a comfortable coach for local travel. The delegation was accommodated in the idyllic Sussex countryside setting of the Ockenden Manor Hotel in Cuckfield and at the Sofitel Hotel at Gatwick, as guests of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative.

During the visit, the delegation was also hosted by a range of organisations based throughout the Gatwick Diamond including Gatwick Airport Limited, Time 24, ILG, Canon, educational institutions East Surrey College, Central Sussex College, University of Brighton and University of Sussex.

The Atlanta business leaders viewed solutions for setting up a UK operation, including Basepoint’s shared office facilities and the flexible office space at Crawley’s Astral Towers. They also visited corporate firms located in the region including Varian Medical Systems and global aerospace technology leader Thales, whilst taking time out to indulge in Afternoon Tea at Langshott Manor, near Horley, Surrey.

The strategic relationship between Atlanta, Georgia and the Gatwick Diamond was cemented with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to indicate future projects between the two regions. The signing ceremony took place at Thomas Eggar LLP in Crawley, where the mission participants enjoyed lunch in the company of some of Gatwick Diamond’s business leaders.

Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, said: “The Gatwick Diamond area has already attracted large and medium-sized companies from a wide range of industries. We are keen to build on this success and hope to raise the area’s profile in the US through this mission. We very much look forward to building on the new business relationships created during the mission.”

Andy Macke, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs for Comcast in the Atlanta Region, said: “We have learned that Atlanta and the Gatwick Diamond have a lot in common: the combination of rural landscapes and urban business centres, an outstanding quality of life, highly trained workforce and international airports that serve as gateways to the rest of the world. We look forward to growing business relationships that mutually benefit our economic prosperity.”

Brandon Beach, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, said: “We share two dynamic economic footprints and this new strategic relationship will enable companies in both Atlanta and the Gatwick Diamond to expand and grow internationally.”

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of the Gatwick Diamond Business Association, said: “We are thrilled with the success of the Atlanta Mission to the Gatwick Diamond. We expect some exciting collaborations to arise from the networking activities that took place during the mission. Already, conversations have developed between the educational institutions who participated in the mission about multi-location degree courses between the Gatwick Diamond and Atlanta. We hope to organise further international trade missions to the Gatwick Diamond in future.”

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