Virginia Beach Economic Development Meets Spanish Prime Minister in Barcelona
The City of Virginia Beach is pleased to report that its recent marketing mission to Spain resulted in meaningful, new business connections with promising Spanish companies and an introduction to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at the 35th Annual PIMEC SME Awards ceremony on June 27 in Barcelona.
At the invitation of Spanish-based PIMEC Organization, Vice Mayor Rosemary Wilson, Council Member Aaron Rouse, City Manager Patrick Duhaney, and Taylor Adams, deputy city manager and director of Economic Development, attended the awards ceremony to recognize the best business initiatives developed over the last 12 months by micro businesses, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the self-employed of Catalonia, an autonomous region located in northeastern Spain.
Vice Mayor Rosemary Wilson and Council Member Aaron Rouse were seated at the head table during the dinner reception, along with Prime Minister Sánchez, the mayor of Barcelona, the president of Catalonia, the president of PIMEC, and other prominent figures from the Catalan and European business community.
"It was an honor to be seated alongside Prime Minister Sánchez and other heads of Spanish government at this high-profile event," said Vice Mayor Wilson. "We had the unique opportunity to raise awareness about Virginia Beach and discuss the benefits of doing business in our community just a day before Mr. Sánchez and President Biden met in Madrid to strengthen the strategic relationship between our two countries. The timing of our discussions was impeccable!"
The PIMEC awards ceremony took place on the pitch at Camp Nou, the world-renowned football stadium that is home to FC Barcelona, and was attended by more than 1,000 people. The event, which attracted nationwide media coverage, was preceded by a private reception where the Virginia Beach delegation met with 30 Spanish and European executives representing more than 15 different organizations. The reception kicked off with a speech from the European SME United President Petri Salminen.
"Every aspect of this marketing mission gave us an opportunity to promote Virginia Beach and attract foreign direct investments to our city," commented Council Member Aaron Rouse. "We had a receptive audience, who showed a strong interest in expanding to the United States. Our team was able to demonstrate why Virginia Beach is an excellent location in which to do so."
As a result of this mission, five Spanish companies have committed to visiting Virginia Beach in September 2022 to evaluate the city as a potential location for their U.S. business operations. The Economic Development team will host the Spanish delegation and continue to cultivate these business relationships with the ultimate goal of recruiting them to establish a presence in Virginia Beach, which would then result in new private sector capital investment and consequently economic growth and job creation.
"Economic development is a long-term process in which you plant a seed, and with patience and hard work, you anticipate new business opportunities will emerge and grow," said City Manager Patrick Duhaney. "I applaud our team's recent accomplishments and look forward to welcoming the Spanish delegation to Virginia Beach in two short months."
PIMEC – Micro, Petita i Mitjana Empresa de Catalunya – is the employers' association that represents, advocates and promotes the business activity of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as the self-employed of Catalonia. Through its lobbying actions and its presence as a social agent on boards and committees, PIMEC aims to raise awareness and work for economic policy to be designed as an engine to foster the development of SMEs and the self-employed. For more information about PIMEC, visit www.pimec.org/en.
The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. For more information, visit www.yesvirginiabeach.com.
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