Ready for France and Ireland

Local Community and Business Leaders Will Be in Europe July 10-16

More than 30 St. Louis-area community and business leaders are set for a week-long trip to Europe. The innovation delegation is scheduled to visit Lyon, France, before stopping in Dublin and Galway, Ireland. Attendees are expected to arrive on July 10 and depart on July 16.

The World Trade Center St. Louis (WTCSL) and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (SLEDP) are sponsoring/coordinating the trip. SLEDP CEO Sheila Sweeney, WTCSL Executive Director Tim Nowak and senior-level executives from many St. Louis-area organizations are scheduled to attend.

“We’ve been planning this trip for several months, and our delegation is very excited about it,” Nowak said. “It will be a great opportunity to strengthen ties with our partners in Lyon, Dublin and Galway. We have a unique relationship with those cities and are very grateful for their willingness to host us.”

Monday’s agenda will begin with a tour of the bioMérieux headquarters (http://www.biomerieux.com/) in Marcy-l’Étoile, France. A world leader in vitro diagnostics with a significant presence in St. Louis County, bioMérieux is a multinational biotechnology company with locations in 150 countries. That afternoon, the group will move to a tour of the Lyon City Center (http://www.en.lyon-france.com/).

Tuesday’s slate will feature the first of three events called “The Global Rise of Innovation Ecosystems.” It will carry a theme of bio and life sciences. The first panel will cover innovation ecosystems, while the second will be a CEO2CEO chat. A two-hour flight from Lyon to Dublin is scheduled for that afternoon.

The delegation will interact with Missouri native and United States Ambassador Kevin O’Malley on Wednesday morning. Another edition of “The Global Rise of Innovation Ecosystems” will follow. The theme will move to financial and information technology. The group will meet with entrepreneurs from Dogpatch Labs (http://dogpatchlabs.com/) that afternoon. A two-hour train ride across Ireland, from east to west, will close out the day.

Thursday, which marks the first full day in Galway, will feature a business networking event at the local Technology Centre (http://www.gtc.ie/). The audience will include startup companies and representatives of the local innovation ecosystem. That afternoon, members of the delegation will enjoy a guided tour of Galway (http://www.galwaytours.ie/). The day is expected to finish with a visit to the National University of Ireland in Galway. Individuals there will host a discussion on education and entrepreneurship. Saint Louis, Webster and Washington Universities will represent Missouri’s higher education scene.

The trip’s last full day — Friday in Galway — will feature the third-and-final edition of “The Global Rise of Innovation Ecosystems.” It will be held at PorterShed (http://portershed.com/), which is a mashup of entrepreneurs, startups, growth companies, educational institutions, state agencies and local government. The theme will be agriculture technology and plant science. The morning session will conclude with a major announcement from one of the St. Louis-based organizations.

“This trip will definitely be a two-way street,” Nowak added. “On one hand, there are so many terrific things happening in St. Louis and we will be able to tell those stories. On the other hand, we are going on this journey to learn from leaders in Lyon, Dublin and Galway. We’ve been very intentional about how we’ve structured our itinerary. We want to hear their stories and see first-hand what they are doing. It’s about continuing to develop innovation strategies and adding them to our overall economic playbook.”

For updates during the trip, follow @WTCSTL and @STLPartnership on Twitter or connect with the World Trade Center St. Louis and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership on Facebook.