Newcastle welcomes Nashville tech specialists in US Trade visit

LAW firm Womble Bond Dickinson has been part of a welcome party for a delegation from across the Atlantic as part of an international trade event earlier this month.

The firm met with delegates from Nashville, Tennessee at The Common Room for the North and The Helix in Newcastle in a special event on Tuesday 7th June. Led by Dawn Dunn, Senior Investment Manager and Digital and Tech sector lead at Invest Newcastle, the event had support from the Department for International Trade (DIT) representatives Liz McCargo, Account Manager for Technology and Creative Industries and Rebecca Mowat, Regional Director of Trade and Foreign Direct Investment for Florida & Southeast USA.

Among the US delegates welcomed to the innovation hub were Lori Odom, Senior Vice President of Economic Development and International Business at Nashville Chamber, Jamie Lee, Chief Operating Officer at Nashville Healthcare Council and John Scannapieco, partner for Womble Bond Dickinson US and British Honorary Council for Nashville, all seeking to build a trade bridge between North East England and the South East of the United States.

Together, the group highlighted the benefits of Newcastle as a centre of industry and innovation. The city’s Helix development is a burgeoning life sciences and healthtech hub, and is home to a series of research-led businesses. With the healthcare industry in Nashville worth an estimated $67bn, the collaboration of these two cities could prove fruitful for investors and innovators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Womble Bond Dickinson partner Peter Snaith explained: “The purchasing power of healthcare in Nashville is extraordinary. 70% of the paid-for hospital beds across the United States are managed out of the city. If overseas investors want to get into the US healthcare market, the gateway is Nashville.”

In addition to the thriving healthtech industries of both cities, the regions are both playing key roles in the development of sustainable energy and the automotive industry and advanced manufacturing generally. In Nashville, the likes of Nissan and Ford are building lithium batteries, a direct parallel of the new gigaplant being created in Blyth, Northumberland.

For businesses from across the pond – both healthtechs and other sectors – Newcastle and the surrounding area can provide an ideal place to innovate, collaborate and grow.

Peter continued: “The clusters around Newcastle are well-established. Bodies like the North East Automotive Alliance, NEPIC and NOF mean that businesses can tap into whole supply chains across the region. Newcastle and the North East are home to a dense network of manufacturers and supply chain companies across a relatively small area, which is one of its virtues. You can see 10-15 businesses within an hour’s drive, and the clusters can plug you into the business landscape.”

He added: “With so many opportunities available on both sides of the Atlantic, this trade visit will hopefully be the first of many. We’re here to receive businesses, we want them to come direct to the North East. We can put people in touch with experts on the ground in both the US and the UK who can make things happen.”