World Trade Center Savannah hosted the Wexford-Savannah TradeBridge business delegation during their visit to Savannah October 7-10, 2018.
TradeBridge is a joint pilot program designed to drive international trade and investment between the Savannah region and Wexford County, Ireland. The purpose of the trip was to foster business relationships that result in increased revenue and jobs.
The delegation consisted of representatives from companies based in Ireland in industries including surveying technology, steel fabrication, premium Irish Mixers and spirits. In addition, representatives from the Wexford Enterprise Centre and the Wexford County Council, partners in the TradeBridge initiative, joined the group to assist in facilitation and further develop leads for Wexford companies that could not make this trip.
The delegation spent their first day on a tour of Savannah that highlighted the unique historical and cultural ties between the regions guided by Howard Keeley, Director of the Center for Irish Research and Teaching at Georgia Southern University. The group attended a welcome dinner and tour of the childhood home of Flannery O’Connor, an American-Irish author of Wexford descent, and later joined nearly 20,000 attendees for Picnic in the Park at Forsyth Park, Savannah’s largest outdoor musical event, hosted by the Savannah Philharmonic conducted by Peter Shannon from Cork, Ireland.
During the week, the group attended presentations at the Savannah Economic Development Authority and World Trade Center Savannah to learn more about the economy of the Coastal Georgia region. Most of their time was spent with companies for targeted business meetings specific to the needs of each business ranging from architectural and engineering firms, construction companies, urban planners to distilleries, beverage distributors and retail establishments. The Irish spirits representatives concluded their week with a private Irish Gin & Tonic tasting event at Ghost Coast Distillery, while representatives from the Wexford Enterprise Centre explored opportunities for continued and expanded partnerships with organizations including Kehoe Iron Works and Savannah College of Art and Design.
“At World Trade Center Savannah, we understand investment follows trade and our team has been working diligently in partnership with Wexford Enterprise Centre and Wexford County Council to help facilitate meaningful trade and investment through TradeBridge. It is the culmination of years of research and collaboration.,” said Brynn Grant, WTCSav Vice President. “Our goal is to help the businesses we serve generate revenue and create more jobs while cultivating long-term investment opportunities for our communities. We are truly building a bridge for international trade and investment.”
Ireland has been identified as a World Trade Center Savannah target country, as a unique relationship exists between the regions, both historically and economically. During the most intensive period of Irish immigration into Savannah, some 56 percent of the newcomers arrived directly from County Wexford. St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is known worldwide for its celebration of Irish heritage and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Additionally, Ireland remains a strong trading partner for Georgia with imports from Ireland totaling $1.04 billion and exports totaling $76.2 million in 2017.
Over the past five years, a series of visits between Savannah and Wexford by key representatives from both areas have successfully occurred. These visits were organized to gain a deeper understanding of the substantial historical links between the regions and to explore potential business opportunities. Because of these activities and relationships, TradeBridge was established with the overall goal of developing a trade corridor between the two regions and exploring potential connections and partnerships for international trade.
In November, World Trade Center Savannah will lead a business delegation to Ireland to explore opportunities and potential partners for companies in the Coastal Georgia region. “For the past seven months, we have been working directly with companies based in our region that have shown an interest in expanding their businesses into and through Ireland, and we are now making preparations for a business trade mission,” said Trey Rossiter, TradeBridge Business and Trade Development Advisor.
If your company is interested in opportunities for expanding your business to and through Ireland, contact Trey Rossiter at Trey@WexSavTradeBridge.com.
For additional information, please contact LeAndrea Mikell, Programs and Marketing Coordinator at World Trade Center Savannah, firstname.lastname@example.org.