DTI lobbied over US trip

Government export promoter Alex Pratt is lobbying the Department of Trade and Industry to open up more places for designers at a US technology conference in March.

“I’m trying hard to get as many places as possible for designers. It’s an excellent matchmaking opportunity,” explains Pratt.

There are currently five places open to design groups of the 50 available at Partners in Technology, to be held from 4-8 March at Salt Lake City, Utah. Speakers include Royal College of Art professor of computer-related design Gillian Crampton Smith and IDEO founder Bill Moggridge.

The DTI is paying 550 towards each company’s overall costs, leaving attendees to pay approximately 290 inclusive of flights, car hire and accommodation.

“It’s almost a freebie,” says Pratt, who has asked the Design Business Association to form selection criteria, although the trip will be open to non-DBA members.

“This is an unusual event for two reasons,” explains Chris Thompson, chair of the DBA’s export task group. “It’s small – restricted to 50 British firms who can make presentations to potential US clients – and it’s set up by the DTI,” he says.

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