First Minister contacts California ‘Fortune 500’ in US push for business

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Over 70 leading California-based companies, including all Fortune 500 companies in the state, are being targeted as part of a new campaign to attract inward investment to Scotland.

The First Minister Alex Salmond has personally written to the heads of leading companies which have been identified by Scottish Development International as potential investors in the run up to his visit to the US on a trade mission.

In his letter, which is part of a wider SDI campaign to encourage some of the world’s most successful companies to consider setting up operations in Scotland, the First Minister highlights the benefits of choosing Scotland over any other nation.

The First Minister will be reinforcing the message that Scotland is ready to do business during his four-day visit to the US West Coast.  He stresses in his letter that Scotland – with its highly-skilled workforce and a cost competitive business location – is a land of opportunity.

The First Minister said:

“Scotland is already an economic success story and we make no apologies for going after new business at every opportunity. We perform better economically than everywhere else in the UK bar the south-east of England and that brings major business opportunities.

“Scottish Development International’s campaign is backed by a number of companies already investing in Scotland such as Pfizer and Amazon and the message is absolutely clear.

“Scotland is a land of major opportunity and it is open for business. We have a long and impressive track record in life sciences, sciences, technology and creative industries developing an environment where ingenuity and innovation can create jobs and wealth for Scotland.

“Even without our offshore oil and gas reserves, Scotland has the highest GDP in the UK outside London and the South-East.

“We have five universities in the world’s top 200, we rank first in the world in research productivity per unit of GDP and second in the world in research impact.

“Business operating costs for key functions can be almost a third lower here.

“This campaign will also send the message directly to the heart of US business community with print and online advertising running in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Business Times, New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle.”

The campaign follows on from the First Minister writing directly to the CEOs of some of Britain’s biggest businesses to encourage investment in Scotland.  This was backed with an advertising campaign directed at the FTSE 100 including messaging on the Reuters Digital Billboard at Canary Wharf where the campaign was seen by more than 600,000 people per week.

The trip will also see Mr Salmond attend the world premier of the animated feature film ‘Brave’, set in a mythical Scotland.  The movie is expected to generate world wide interest in Scotland with significant benefits to tourism.

Anne MacColl, Chief Executive of Scottish Development International, said:

“This campaign is part of a global drive to attract new investment to Scotland.  There has been a significant level of inward investment success over the last 12 months and SDI is building on this with a continued focus on securing new, sustainable jobs and opportunities.

“It is clear that Scotland remains a location of choice due to our winning combination of qualities, including our highly skilled and educated workforce and efficient operating costs.

“This is an excellent opportunity to highlight Scotland’s competitive advantages to some of California’s biggest companies.”

Background:

SDI uses advertising as part of an integrated marketing strategy, targeting specific geographies and sectors to spread the message as widely as possible that Scotland is open for business.

Results have shown this to be an effective strategy with independent research demonstrating the spontaneous ranking of countries likely to be considered for inward investment by senior decision-makers in France, Germany and the US. This research shows that Scotland is now among the top ten countries likely to be considered as destinations for inward investment by these important markets.

First Minister’s US itinerary:

The First Minister’s first event will be tomorrow Monday, June 18, when he will take part in business meetings and also meet with US journalists to discuss Scotland as a tourist destination.

He will also discuss the opportunities presenting themselves as part of the Winning Years initiative to encourage tourism businesses to maximise their promotional activity by focusing in on major events such as the Year of Creative Scotland and the launch of “Brave” this year; the Year of Natural Scotland next year; and the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and Year of Homecoming in 2014.

He will then attend the premiere of “Brave”, which is being shown as the opening film of the LA Film Festival.

On Tuesday, June 19, he will meet with leading politicians at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

He will also travel that day to San Francisco to deliver a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California and meet senior business people and decision-makers.

The First Minister will take part in a number of business meetings to discuss inward investment on Wednesday, June 20 before returning to Scotland. The First Minister will also be a guest of Stanford University where he will see the latest work by the SU2P collaboration between Stanford and Scottish universities.