British trade mission visits Reno-Sparks |

British trade mission visits Reno-Sparks

John Seelmeyer

Northwest Nevada.

Northwest England.

Business and political leaders from the two regions huddled in Reno last week in an effort to find connections that might allow closer economic links — and, maybe, collaborations to strengthen startup technology companies.

A delegation from the United Kingdom’s Wirral peninsula visited a downtown business incubator, toured labs at the University of Nevada, Reno, and spent many hours with their Nevada counterparts.

The mission was hosted by Landing Zone USA Inc., a newly formed Reno company that’s encouraging technology companies from around the world to set up shop in northern Nevada.

The Wirral region, a peninsula just south of Liverpool defined by the River Dee and the River Mersey, has been battered by the long decline of the shipbuilding industry that was its economic mainstay, says Wirral Council Leader Phil Davies, a participant in the trade delegation.

But the English region is rebounding, thanks to small and medium-sized entrepreneurial companies drawn to a region with substantially lower costs than those of metropolitan London.

The region’s technology-driven rebound caught the attention of Reno’s Ian Grieve, a graduate of Liverpool John Moores University who’s spent nearly 25 years as an executive of game-development and technology companies in Nevada and Europe.

He’s now a director of Landing Zone USA.

Among its goals: Opening doors for Wirral companies to use northern Nevada as their base to open the American market, and opening doors for companies in Reno and Sparks to launch European operations from offices in northwest England.

It’s also possible, Grieve says, that companies in the two regions can share technology, allowing them to move products to market more quickly.

Randy Pease, another director of Landing Zone USA, says northern Nevada has strong infrastructure to support foreign tech companies that want to set up shop.

The group from Wirral visited the business incubator at 250 Bell Street in downtown Reno, where they heard from co-founder Susan Clark about the 21 companies that been launched successfully inside its walls. (Only one has failed.)

And they heard about the newly created Area 52, a partnership of specialists in business startups that will be providing support to technology commercialization in Reno.

Along with private meetings with business leaders, the British delegation visited UNR and Desert Research Institute and toured the Tesla building site.