Global industry leaders wowed by Warwickshire's Digital Creative Industry
An influential delegation from the Digital Creative Industry worldwide gained first-hand experience of what Warwickshire has to offer after the Department of International Trade selected the area as a showcase for potential investors.
DIT works with international companies to encourage them to set up in the UK or expand existing operations here. As part of this brief, they arranged for some of their Creative Digital specialists from around the world, including Australia, France, India, Canada, Japan, the USA and Spain, to visit the UK and find out more about the local offer.
Coventry & Warwickshire, together with London and Manchester, were identified as hotpots for the Creative and Digital sector.
Warwickshire County Council’s inward investment service, Invest in Warwickshire, was asked to make introductions and put together an itinerary for delegates to better understand the local offer, with a particular focus on the games development cluster.
Sim Lee, an Inward Investment Officer at the council and local sector specialist, arranged the itinerary, and the feedback from the event was excellent. Delegates confirmed that they would be returning home ready to recommend Warwickshire as a great base for potential investors.
"The day went very well and all the visitors really engaged with what we had to say," said Mr Lee. "We showed them companies of all sizes from smaller enterprises at the Arch Creatives (a shared co-working space part-funded by Warwickshire County Council) and the micro-studios at 26 Hamilton Terrace, Leamington Spa, through to big AAA studios like Sega Hardlight.
"We were able to demonstrate how the sector works closely with educational institutions and how recreational games technology is being adapted for other uses such as automotive, health and education.
"We also wanted to show how joined-up the sector is here, with studios working together to support each other. For example, Sega Hardlight is very keen to help out at 26 Hamilton Terrace as it fosters and maintains local talent which they can tap into.
"Also, two of the micro-studios we saw at Hamilton Terrace sometimes work together on different projects, one being animators and the other games developers."
Visiting delegates included Liang Zheng (Head of Creative Industries, South China), Yan Zhang (Head of Creative Industries, North China),Tess Fowler (Head of Investment at the DIT in New South Wales, Australia), Azusa Oyama, (Investment Advisor ICT & Creative, Japan), Dimitris Horiatis (Tech & Creative Lead, New York) and Chris Roach (Creative & Tech, Chicago).
Also present was Lena Benson, a business development associate at the British Consulate General in Los Angeles, who said: "It was a pleasure to meet in Leamington Spa and see what the digital creative sector there has to offer. It was very impressive and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit."
"The delegates all loved seeing the games being made," added Mr Lee. "At Sega they were given a chance to play a new, unreleased game and they could have spent hours playing it!
"At each place they asked many questions and clearly were very interested in learning all they could about Warwickshire. The presentations were followed by some really good conversations between ourselves and the visitors, all of whom were very keen to swap contact details for when they returned home."