Choose NJ Strengthens Economic Ties with UK

Choose New Jersey, Inc. and Governor Christie led a mission to the United Kingdom last week to meet with British business executives, research institutes and government officials to promote increased trade and economic activity between New Jersey and the UK.

During the mission, the delegation also met with several companies that are considering expanding in New Jersey, as well as toured a technology accelerator and participated in discussions with venture capital companies and SelectUSA, a federal organization created by the US Department of Commerce to showcase the United States as the world’s premier business location.

In addition, Choose New Jersey finalized an agreement with HMC Global to augment its lead generation capabilities in the United Kingdom. The well-known firm will assist Choose New Jersey with identifying and making connections with UK companies that are interested in foreign direct investment in New Jersey.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the United Kingdom ranked as the single largest foreign investor in the US economy, constituting nearly one-fifth of all cumulative foreign direct investment holdings through 2013.

“Powerhouse companies from the UK, such as Unilever and Standard Chartered Bank, have already chosen to locate major operations in New Jersey,” said Michael Chrobak, chief economic development officer of Choose New Jersey. “We want to foster continued UK investment in the Garden State. We are competing in a global arena to create new jobs in our state, and these business missions are critical to ensuring that foreign company leaders and international investors are aware of all that New Jersey has to offer.”

As part of the four day mission, the delegation also sought to learn best practices and foster relationships with the UK’s medical research and life sciences sector—an industry that New Jersey shares strength in, as one of the leading life sciences clusters in the US.

Partnering with Cambridge-based industry trade group, One Nucleus, the New Jersey delegation held a roundtable with more than two dozen life science executives that was joined by New Jersey life science leaders, including Richard Bagger, senior vice president of corporate affairs and strategic market access for Celgene Corporation, and Rutgers University’s president, Dr. Robert Barchi, and Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D., senior vice president of research and economic development at Rutgers.

“Our meetings were very productive and focused our Rutgers’ strengths, such as precision medicine in cancer treatment, infectious diseases, neuroscience and proteomics,” Molloy said. “There was an appreciation for the excellence of Rutgers’ faculty and the business leaders with whom we met seemed pleased to learn about the university’s recent integration and the creation of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.”

Discussions involved large and small biotech companies and venture capital firms, Molloy said. Follow-up conversations already have taken place since the visit between UK business leaders and Rutgers scientists.

The New Jersey delegation also participated in an executive roundtable focused on the financial sector in partnership with financial services industry group, TheCityUK, in London. Just this year, New Jersey welcomed investments from JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Canada thanks in part to new Grow New Jersey incentives.

Both business roundtables were aimed at showcasing New Jersey’s positive business climate, assets and resources to top-level business executives.

While in London, the Choose New Jersey delegation also visited Level39, Europe’s largest technology accelerator for finance, retail, cyber-security and other technology companies. Of particular interest were the financial technology companies housed in the incubator, since New Jersey is now home to five of the world’s top 100 so-called “FinTech” companies, which focus on technology related to financial services. In 2014, one of those companies, Scivantage, and Stevens Institute of Technology launched a FinTech incubator program in Jersey City.

“Our job is to promote New Jersey as a premiere location for business around the world, so we were proud to host this business mission to the UK,” Chrobak continued. “Choose New Jersey conducts outreach every day to more than 20 countries around the world. As a direct result, we’ve seen a sharp uptick in the number of inquiries and requests for information coming from companies abroad.”

Choose New Jersey officials also met in London with Continent 8 Technologies, a UK-based hosting provider, to connect with Internet-based data center companies looking to expand or relocate in the U.S. Continent 8 Technologies recently opened a world-class data center in Atlantic City, which provides the technology infrastructure necessary to expand New Jersey’s Internet-based data center support for all industries in New Jersey. Through Continent 8 Technologies, New Jersey’s unique location and telecommunication assets were also showcased in print and online trade publications circulated to more than 30,000 people.

Choose New Jersey will continue to discuss mutual business interests and investment opportunities with UK business leaders when a British delegation, including the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, visits the region this week. Choose New Jersey officials will be joined by a number of New Jersey technology companies at a breakfast for the delegation hosted by Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.


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