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World Trade Center opens

The World Trade Center will allow businesses within a 50-mile radius of the city to extend their horizons around the world. It was launched to businesses in Milton Keynes and Luton last month.

World Trade Center Milton Keynes is part of the global World Trade Center Association, a not-for-profit, non-political membership organisation consisting of 341 centres representing 750,000 businesses in 80 countries.

Rita Spada (pictured), chief executive of Milton Keynes & North Bucks Chamber of Commerce, explained to business representatives at lunchtime events at the Ramada Encore Hotel in Milton Keynes and at Luton Hoo that the WTC aims to assist foreign companies to locate in the region and encourages companies to trade worldwide.

She said: “The international market clearly represents the biggest opportunity for growth. We are a connected world and we want to make Milton Keynes and this territory a place in which business can come to us and invest so that we can grow. WTC is a shop window for businesses to grow and find new business and to attract the businesses we want in order to grow.”

Delegates at the inaugural symposium in Milton Keynes heard Jerry Hardcastle, vice-president vehicle design and development at motor giant Nissan’s Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, outline how the centre now employed 600 staff, having invested €100 million in the site. It has also been responsible for the development of Nissan’s SUV the Qashqai.

Forging closer links with the Chamber had enabled Nissan to work more closely with the business community, he said.

Rita Spada said: “If you focus on boundaries and we allow boundaries to become our barriers we will lose out on so much going forward. The World Trade Center is about eliminating boundaries, opening up opportunities and engaging in discussion.”

WTC New York vice-president Matthew Kleinknecht flew to the UK to attend the launch in Milton Keynes. He explained to delegates that the WTC was also a real estate provider, where companies pay premium rents for a premium location. In Milton Keynes’ case, this was thehub:mk in Central Milton Keynes.

Rita Spada said: “It is leadership and vision in the tough times that determines success in the future. It is about defining and opening up boundaries.”

The World Trade Center Milton Keynes was unveiled to businesses in Bedfordshire and Luton at a private luncheon held at Luton Hoo.

The remit of the Milton Keynes WTC covers a wider region than just the city and speakers expanded on the concept and importance of the WTCA network and the direct benefits to the business community and business leaders in having their own city-to-city business connections around the globe.

Lord Ivor Richard from WTC Holdings spoke on the way in which the WTCA has grown since it was established in 1970 and how thousands of businesses across the world have been brought together to trade and share knowledge.

Other guests included representatives from WTC chairman Bryan Montgomery, Northern European co-ordinator Anders Berner and British Chambers of Commerce director general David Frost. Also at the lunch was Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, ambassador for Sports Leaders UK.