GlobalSTL, the international recruitment arm of local innovation hub BioSTL, has expanded its reach in Europe.
GlobalSTL Lead Vijay Chauhan and BioSTL President and CEO Donn Rubin in June took a three-day trip to Scotland, marking GlobalSTL’s first trip to the country. Chauhan and Rubin’s trip, arranged by Scotland’s national economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, included meetings with 26 startups and several Scottish innovation hubs. The pair said they forged key relationships to recruit Scottish companies to St. Louis, with plans for the leader of Scottish Enterprise to visit St. Louis in October.
“This relationship is really on the acceleration path,” Rubin said.
GlobalSTL focuses on recruiting international companies to St. Louis and acting as a conduit to find global innovation that can be used by local corporations in fields like agriculture and health care. Since its launch in 2104, GlobalSTL said 49 companies have been attracted to St. Louis from Israel, United Kingdom and Ireland, among others. BioSTL said those 49 have either signed local contracts, hired staff locally, opened offices here, invested here, or done clinical or field trials in the region.
The recent trip to Scotland came after a meeting with Scottish Development International, Scotland’s trade agency. Chauhan said SDI reached out to GlobalSTL to figure out how they could create a partnership to bring Scotland-born innovation to St. Louis.
“They really thought the strengths of Scotland and innovation coming out of that could find a good home in St. Louis,” he said.
He said Scottish officials were impressed with GlobalSTL’s “shopping list,” which includes surveying its local corporate partners about the innovations and technologies that will help improve their businesses.
GlobalSTL’s visit to Scotland involved meeting with companies in the agriculture and health care sectors. Chauhan said GlobalSTL selected about eight companies on the agriculture side and seven health care companies on which to do further due diligence to determine if there’s a fit for them in St. Louis. The Scotland trip also included meeting with innovation hubs that included West of Scotland Innovation Hub, James Hutton Institute and Agri-EPI Centre. Chauhan and Rubin said they expect to maintain relationships with those organizations to be able to be aware of the up-and-coming startups that are affiliated with them and could have a fit in St. Louis.
“Before they made a location decision, we want to be on their radar,” Chauhan said.
Rubin said the strength of the burgeoning relationship between Scotland and GlobalSTL benefits from a feeling that Scotland and St. Louis are “kindred spirits.” He said that stems from both places feeling they are often overlooked as innovative places, with St. Louis competing against coastal U.S. markets such as Boston and Silicon Valley and Scotland against the United Kingdom’s “golden triangle” of Cambridge, London and Oxford.