Promising Australian technology companies seeking lower-risk entry to UK and European markets are being offered up to 12 months free accommodation in Welsh innovation centres in a new ‘try before you buy’ initiative.
Access Wales is a new service from International Business Wales (IBW) — the trade and investment arm of the Welsh Assembly Government — offering high growth foreign tech companies access to the Welsh network of 15 high tech innovation centres, many of which are industry specific.
Companies eligible for Access Wales will receive desk spaces equipped with telephones and high-speed internet and typically located within open-plan business units with access to shared facilities such as reception services, meeting rooms and conference facilities.
The free service includes access to information, advice and support on grants and finance, property, innovation support, technology, marketing assistance, sourcing suppliers and skills development. In addition, these companies will receive specialist business support from professional consultancy partners worth approximately A$18,000.
Wales is marketing itself to foreign companies as a lower-cost alternative European base to London and continental business hubs. People costs alone for the average ICT company are 15 percent cheaper than the UK average and 40 percent cheaper than London.
This new initiative presents eligible Australian companies with an even lower-risk opportunity to test the viability of a longer-term expansion to the UK and Europe.
“On top of the package of Access Wales, we can introduce companies to other companies in the same sector, to consultants, to the universities, to our politicians and, most importantly in this game right now, to finance,” says Mike Hynda, Deputy Director of International Business Wales Inward Investment. “The world has changed a lot in the last couple of years — especially in the UK. The days of easy capital have gone away. We’ve got our own Finance Wales team, which can invest in companies through a combination of loans, equity stake, or a combination of both.”
Interested businesses can find more information and apply for Access Wales by visiting the Access Wales website or contacting IBW’s Sydney office on (02) 9258 1103.
Disclosure: International Business Wales sponsored the Global Growth category at the 2009 Cool Company Awards.