The 2015 World Trade Center St. Louis Growing Global luncheon held on Friday, September 25 at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton featured dignitaries, corporations large, medium, and small, local start-ups, non-profits and students. In essence, there was something for everyone.
Kevin O’Malley, US Ambassador to Ireland, received the Global Ambassador Award at the luncheon. He said, “It’s great that the World Trade Center has been so active in promoting trade in Europe and particularly in Ireland, so I accept this award on behalf of those who are so cleverly and effectively working to create and broaden the bridge between the United States and Ireland.”
Keynote speaker Tom Hillman, of FTL Capital Partners and Lewis & Clark Ventures, said, “Our region is more ready to participate on a global stage than most people think. While there is always more to be done, the infrastructure to support increased exports from Born Global businesses, along with small to medium sized businesses, is largely in place.”
The theme of the luncheon was “Local Startups, Born Global.” A video leading in to Hillman’s address featured local startups and their interpretation of the phrase “Born Global” as it applies to their businesses. Hillman explained that the phrase is at least twenty years old but has more significance now than ever. “It means that from its inception the business is outwardly focused, looking beyond its domestic markets to world markets most often through exporting. Although commonly associated with businesses based outside the US, Born Globals are on the rise in this country. ”
Roberto Garcia was featured in Hillman’s video and has received support from one of the World Trade Center’s associated services, the St. Louis Mosaic Project whose mission is to promote regional prosperity through immigration and innovation.
Garcia, an immigrant, is co-founder and CEO of the smartphone application Listo, which connects moviegoers to translations of movie soundtracks in real time. Garcia said, “It’s an incredible honor to be even invited to this luncheon. I have worked closely with Betsy Cohen [Executive Director of St. Louis Mosaic Project] and her team and they’ve been a great support of our company since it’s inception. I agree with what Tom Hillman said. St. Louis is just prime for growth. Prime for great things. ” Read more about Garcia on the St. Louis Mosaic Project website.
Recently established larger companies, such as Edgewell Personal Care (which spun off from Energizer in July), also attended the luncheon.
Tara, a Supply Chain Manager of North American Distribution, said, “The World Trade Center organization helps our company to understand where our growth opportunities are.”
Chelsea Draper, graduate of Washington University School of Law in 2012 came to the luncheon on a mission to learn about how St. Louis operates internationally.
“I’m about to finish my LLM in International Financial Law with Kings College in London, and just moved back to St. Louis so I just wanted to know a little bit about what’s going on in St. Louis on the international front.”