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Delegation forges valuable connections

ATEED, Auckland, 22 June 2015: Direct immediate economic benefits are starting to flow from this month’s Tripartite Economic Alliance business delegation to Los Angeles, says Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) – and they will translate into long-term high-tech exports.

More than 40 Auckland companies attended the tripartite summit and associated business meetings, and ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the trip was a catalyst for incredible opportunities which they made the most of.

“Auckland Council’s tripartite team was able to facilitate crucial introductions and connections for innovative Auckland companies with counterparts and potential investors in China and United States, and it is now up to them to clinch deals.

“The delegates had some amazing opportunities to interact with hugly influential business people – connections they would find almost impossible on their own,” says Brett O’Riley.

Several Auckland companies were approached by angel investors and venture capitalists attending the summit – which was focused on themes including a new world of entertainment, influence and innovation – and some of the Auckland businesses have already decided to start or grow a presence in Los Angeles as they looked to expand into the US.

“ATEED’s R&D and business growth specialists have worked closely with world-leading nanofibre manufacturer Revolution Fibres, and the company got great results from being part of the delegation. It is now looking at Los Angeles as a base to expand into the US market. One of its directors stayed on to follow up the new opportunities including further meetings with potential investors.

“Other companies including Poutama Trust, Flux Animation, EverEdge IP, and PlusPlay all reported great early results from being part of the summit delegation, and we will support their growth journey.”

Brett O’Riley says Screen Auckland, ATEED’s specialist screen industry unit, held positive discussions in Los Angeles with the producers of four feature films and one television documentary about locating productions in Auckland, and they also looked at leading film studio infrastructure.

“Some of the feature films are potential US-New Zealand-China (Guangzhou) co-productions, so the Tripartite was the perfect venue to get around the table with key people for all three cities and make progress. If the productions do come to Auckland, they would be worth tens of millions of dollars to the region’s economy.”

The television discussions included programmes with potential digital channel distribution and potentially valuable crossover benefits for Auckland’s tourism sectors.

“We have a very clear view, supported by research, about the calibre of studio infrastructure and its required location in Auckland for us to continue to sustain our region’s screen sector growth rate.”

Screen Auckland and ATEED were also able to use their strong connections with the industry in LA to set up ‘dream’ meetings for Auckland’s screen and digital sector company delegates. These included AUT’s digital representative with world-leading counterparts at UCLA and USC; and delegates heard from a senior representatives of world-leading companies involved in movie production (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment), and computer game development.

The delegates gained valuable insights into the Los Angeles and US marketplace from Chance Barnett, CEO of Crowdfunder; Bill Allen, President of Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation; and Peter Marx, City of LA Chief technology Officer. They networked with the Silicon Beach Young Professionals group, at an event sponsored by Google.

Brett O’Riley says the focus now shifts to ensuring Auckland seizes the opportunities created by the first summit: “Our Business Attraction and Investment team will work with the rest of the council group to shape an ongoing three-year programme to leverage the alliance. We will help the Auckland companies maintain momentum generated by the summit.

“The second summit – to be held in Auckland in autumn next year – will be the another major milestone on the journey, and an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Auckland to an audience with this level of influence and business focus.”