Belfast Telegraph

Government support 'behind record UK exhibitor numbers at Mobile World Congress'

The UK has a record number of exhibitors at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) technology show because of Government backing, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has said.

According to the DIT, 167 tech firms from Britain are attending the Barcelona event, which it claims was a figure aided by Government support, enabling start-ups to appear alongside giants of the industry including Samsung and Sony.

International trade minister Greg Hands said: "The world continues to see the UK as a leading technology destination of choice, with global tech companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google leading the charge to invest in Silicon UK."

In January, the head of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) tech event in Las Vegas, Gary Shapiro, criticised the Government over what he claimed was a lack of support preventing more British companies from attending.

Mr Shapiro said France and the Netherlands had moved ahead of the UK in terms of show presence and suggested because CES takes place in Las Vegas, attendance was "frowned upon" by the Government.

At the time the DIT said it offered start-ups "targeted support and bespoke business matching that better maximises their presence to win vital contracts abroad".

At MWC, the department says it is working with 75 firms to help them showcase their products and meet potential investors.

"We have some of the most innovative tech talent and entrepreneurs in the world, and I want to encourage other investors to take notice and take advantage of our expertise and ideas," Mr Hands said.

"Global industry shows, like Mobile World Congress, are a huge opportunity for small businesses, and my department is here helping more UK companies than ever build the connections they need to revolutionise the world and go global."

Start-up What3Words is one of the firms the DIT is working with at the event - the company's mapping system is used by postal services and aid agencies to help them pinpoint accurate global addresses.

The company has been nominated for two Global Mobile Awards at MWC, and director Giles Rhys Jones said support at the event had been vital.

"MWC is a fantastic platform to reach potential partners, investors and influencers, and the support we have received from the Department for International Trade to help us get here has been fantastic," he said.