In 1946, Sir Winston Churchill stood in the middle of Missouri and delivered his Iron Curtain speech – using the term “special relationship” for the first time to describe the extensive connectivity between the US and the UK. That relationship has been on an aggressive growth path ever since, especially in relation to business connectivity. Those connections include agri-tech, financial services, manufacturing, aerospace and more.
Currently, the trading relationship between Missouri and the UK exceeds $2 billion each year and there are more than 50 British companies in Missouri, employing more than 25,000 Missourians. Numerous British companies are looking at Missouri today as they evaluate the best way to enter the U.S. marketplace for numerous reasons, including being the birthplace of Budweiser, Square, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, H&R Block and Emerson.
These British companies are leaders in agri-tech, distribution, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, life sciences and more, and are a key part of a robust and supportive globally-connected ecosystem in the heart of the US. Missouri provides British companies with talent, incentives, innovation, connections, and a gateway to all of North America. These companies from the United Kingdom have helped the Missouri business environment to grow and thrive.
Business and government delegations from the UK and Missouri are regular visitors to each other’s corners of the globe, and partnerships exist across business, research, academia, and government. Collaboration, investment, trade and partnerships are an ongoing part of the special relationship between the United Kingdom and Missouri. Missouri is actively working with British companies today as these UK innovators look to expand to the U.S. and increase the robust trading relationship, especially in the agri-tech sector.
“I believe future collaboration between the Missouri and UK agri-tech ecosystems has the potential to be exceptional and remarkable and I am keen to do all I can to support it,” British Consul General Alan Gogbashian stated after a recent visit to Missouri.
The connections are not just business related. In 2019, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows visited Missouri and thrilled tens of thousands of people during their recent North American tour. UK history is alive and well in Missouri. Fulton, Missouri, is home to the National Churchill Museum. And Mark Sutherland, the CMO of Missouri Partnership, was born in Scotland and grew up outside London, and today serves as the British Hon. Consul to Missouri.
In 2019, Missouri representatives engaged in multiple visits to the UK to build connectivity and relationships including engaging with agritech innovators and companies in Cambridge, London, Harpenden and York.
In early 2020, following these 2019 missions from Missouri to the UK, British agri-tech innovators, led by Agri-TechE, visited Missouri for a week, identifying collaboration and growth opportunities across the state.
“What we want to do is give our members the opportunity to find the customers, collaborators, clients and partners that will accelerate their business and obviously the international markets are key to that,” said Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-TechE. “I think there are a lot of similarities between the innovation ecosystems for agriculture and agri-tech here as there are in our ecosystem in the UK.” Agri-TechE is a British business focused membership organization, supporting the growth of a world-leading network of innovative farmers, producers, scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs who share a vision of increasing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of agriculture. The mission to Missouri was jointly planned by Agri-TechE, the British Government, World Trade Center St. Louis and Missouri Partnership.
And these efforts continue, with Missouri attending the virtual London Tech Week events throughout 2020, working with London Tech Week as they produced a study on the innovative strengths and opportunities in Missouri, speaking and attending in person during the 2021 London Tech Week events, attending and speaking at Agri-TechE’s virtual REAP agri-tech conference in Cambridge in 2020 and 2021, and a two-way virtual Missouri Agri-Tech Connect Programme virtual mission in 2021.
Missouri and the United Kingdom have strong connections today, and groups and individuals on both sides of the Pond are actively working to grow those connections across multiple sectors in ways that benefit both Missouri and the UK. Contact us today to learn how you can be a part of this vibrant cross-Atlantic ecosystem.