Posted on 8 June 2011
The University of Wales will now have an entrepreneurial base within the Irish Innovation Centre
In a move that will propel innovative Welsh companies into the heart of the American venture capital market, the University of Wales has opened an office in San-Jose, the self-proclaimed ‘capital of Silicon Valley’.
The Irish Innovation Centre (IIC), a launch-pad organisation for Irish start-up businesses in Silicon Valley, has invited the University of Wales to base itself within their company in a nod to a shared Celtic heritage and entrepreneurial spirit.
Together with its affiliate organisation, the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG), the Centre offers a wealth of resources to technology companies making the difficult transition across the Atlantic, including office space, legal and administrative help, conference facilities, and media/PR support.
The support network of the IIC, coupled with its location in Silicon Valley, will present a goldmine of opportunity for Welsh companies wishing to penetrate the US market. The establishment of a Welsh entrepreneurial base in the area could potentially make the US a far less hostile or risky area for Welsh investors and businessman, serving the dual purpose of diversifying and stimulating the Welsh economy.
When Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, Director of Enterprise and Innovation of the University of Wales, first heard about the IIC, he was very impressed by its concept and thought that Wales ought to have its own equivalent, which is exactly what he has set about to establish. Professor Jones-Evans said:
“It will be an office for Wales, for Welsh business and for high-technology firms that want to have a presence in Silicon Valley. Our aim is for Wales to have a foothold in the area through working closely with the Irish Innovation Centre to help a few companies to come over there and see how it works. If we are successful, then there may be the possibility of replicating the concept for Welsh companies.”
Essentially the role of the University of Wales will be to provide an office-space for Welsh companies who feel ready to present their innovation technology to potential investors in Silicon Valley, taking advantage of the soft-landing that the IIC provides to companies already based there. Professor Jones-Evans is quick to acknowledge the important role of organisations like the IIC in promoting innovation.
“It is absolutely critical to have contacts within Silicon Valley because many companies won’t have experience of the environment which makes up this innovation hotspot or, more importantly, the networks that you need to access to get anywhere in such an innovation ecosystem” he added.
John Hartnett, founder of the IIC and chief executive of the ITLG, welcomed the decision by the University of Wales to locate an office in Silicon Valley:
"Connecting Welsh technology companies to Silicon Valley is crucial to accelerate Welsh innovation. Silicon Valley is home to the world’s largest technology companies as well as the number one location for VC funding where more than 40% of all US VC Investment is transacted - Wales is now part of this with the Initiative of University of Wales locating a foothold in downtown San Jose.”
Sir Terry Matthews, Newport-born serial hi-tech entrepreneur, said:
"San Jose and the remainder of Silicon Valley continue as a major concentration of high technology companies and venture capitalists. The new Welsh Innovation Office will be a significant benefit to any new company looking to enter the market for sales opportunities or access to sources of capital. I congratulate the team on this initiative"
Phil Cooper, Managing Director at Venture Wales, a business support organization, said:
“Congratulations to the University of Wales as this initiative provides an excellent resource for Welsh firms who are considering their entry strategy into the richest market in the world. The technology cluster approach enhances competitiveness of Welsh firms through the development of a competent industry network backed by a range of local US support services which can facilitate the internationalization process. It also serves to raise the bar by requiring more Welsh firms to become internationally competitive. I wish it every success.”
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