Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, is to lead an eight-day trade mission to Isr’l and Ireland beginning May 22 in an effort to enhance Pennsylvania’s global competitiveness in attracting high-technology firms and creating jobs.
“Isr’l has the most Internet startups anywhere in the world outside the Silicon Valley and Ireland has the fastest-growing software market in Europe,” Ridge said last week in announcing the mission. “This trade mission will bring some of Pennsylvania’s hottest companies to some of the world’s hottest technology centers.
“Isr’l and Ireland are becoming technology powerhouses. Pennsylvania can learn from their experiences, and we can benefit from their success. Jobs will be created by tapping into these emerging high-tech markets, and we want Pennsylvania’s market to be rich in high-tech job growth.”
Both Isr’l and Ireland have enacted successful strategies to attract and nurture the development of high-tech firms.
Pennsylvania was ranked fourth in the U.S. last year in high-tech export growth by Export Today magazine. Also in 1997, Business Facilities magazine ranked Pennsylvania among the top 15 states for high-tech growth.
Joining Pennsylvania’s employers on the mission will be presidents from Penn State University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania, and the chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh.
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“Our goal is to showcase our workers, our great universities and our technologies in these fast-growing markets,” Ridge said. “We want to create financial and educational partnerships in Ireland and Isr’l that will lead to jobs for our families and important new discoveries in science and technology.”
The Republic of Ireland is ranked first in Europe for information technology. The country boasts a strong tradition of collaboration between university and industry, particularly in emerging-technology sectors.
Exports of electronics and software now account for 40 percent of Ireland’s total exports. Five of the world’s top 10 independent software companies have major operations in Ireland. More than 4 percent of all PC-packaged software and 60 percent of all PC business-application software sold in Europe are produced in Ireland.
Last year, Pennsylvania’s exports to Ireland were valued at more than $112 million, and the state’s exports to Isr’l were worth nearly $111 million.
Accompanying Gov. Ridge on the mission will be 19 Pennsylvania companies and high-tech incubators.