For Immediate Release - November 18, 2015

International Diplomats and Trade Officials Tour Western Mass to Explore Partnership Opportunities

Representatives of a dozen countries meet local officials and visit innovation and economic development sites across Pioneer Valley

Springfield – Tuesday, November 17, 2015 –The Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) led a bus tour of international diplomats and trade officials from 12 countries and regions to explore economic development and entrepreneurship initiatives in Western Massachusetts.

The tour included stops at Valley Venture Mentors in Springfield, the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) in Holyoke and Yankee Candle Company in South Deerfield.

Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development, and Katie Stebbins, Assistant Secretary of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, led the tour and discussed the Baker-Polito Administration’s initiatives to support job growth, workforce development, and entrepreneurship in Gateway Cities and throughout Western Massachusetts.

“It is essential that the benefits of international investment and trade extend across the Commonwealth, and this trip makes the consular corps aware of the great opportunities and workforce readily available in Western Massachusetts,” said Pham. “Massachusetts is a hub of international business and commerce and the entire state has something to offer to the global economy.”

“Entrepreneurship does not just exist in Cambridge or Boston, but across the entire Commonwealth,” said Stebbins. “Valley Venture Mentors in Springfield is quickly becoming a regional hub for start-up companies, and this tour is one way to ensure that international entrepreneurs look beyond route 128 when deciding where to launch their business.”

“Western Massachusetts holds many opportunities for international firms and investors,” said Rick Sullivan, Executive Director of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, which supported Tuesday’s tour. “We look forward to working with the consular community to welcome more business leaders to the region.”

The Consular Corps of Massachusetts consists of 60 career and honorary diplomats who represent their respective countries in the New England region and promote cultural and economic ties.

“This tour was a great chance to learn about the region and about economic development and partnership opportunities beyond Boston,” said Ambassador Songjun Ohm, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Boston.

“Our job is to facilitate relations between Massachusetts and our home countries, and this tour was a great chance to expand our network and explore new areas for collaboration,” said Fionnuala Quinlan, Consul General of Ireland in Boston.

“This initiative is a helpful way to promote and expand access to the vibrant consular community in Massachusetts and increase international partnerships,” said Hunter Richard, Senior Manager of Business Development at MOITI.