The end of October saw the culmination of months of hard work as the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) trade mission to Saudi Arabia finally arrived in Riyadh. With International Trade Manager Diane Thomas at the helm, VEDP brought four US companies with a breadth of experience across a variety of industries to the Kingdom, all keen to develop or expand their business winning in the Middle East’s largest market.

For our part, the AEI Consultancy team spent the months prior organising a week-long schedule of 1-2-1 meetings for each delegate, as well as the provision of visa support, daily driver services, a networking dinner and more.

For many in the delegation, the mission to Saudi was about expanding upon existing operations rather than taking their first steps into the market. Nonetheless, the AEI team was able to find new pathways and potential for these companies in the Kingdom.

The companies who attended were:

MalcrawlerRepresented by Dewan Chowdhury, Malcrawler develop and install software designed to protect industrial SCADA systems from unwanted intrusions. Their meetings mainly focused on defence, telecoms and IT companies.

videoNEXT – videoNEXT, who brought two representatives to Riyadh, George DeVaux and Shawn Natour, produce video analytics software that can be integrated into any security system. Their meetings were mainly focused on defence and telecoms.

“Although videoNEXT has ten years of experience in Saudi Arabia, AEI presented videoNEXT to decision-making executives of major international corporations. We are excited about the opportunities.”

George DeVaux, Vice President, videoNEXT

Learning TreeAs a leading training provider in the United States, Learning Tree were looking to broaden their horizons into the Kingdom, and after a successful trade mission we hope that they feel adequately prepared for whatever the Saudi market can throw at them:

“Two of the Saudi partners we met on the VEDP mission have expressed verbally that they would like to partner with Learning Tree! Both have real potential and I wanted to thank AEI for all the support – from arranging these meetings to providing transportation for the week. We even closed one opportunity during the visit, so we are definitely looking forward to expanding our operations in the Kingdom in 2019.”

Ben Wells, Client Director, Learning Tree International

World Art GroupWorld Art Group, represented by Lonnie Lemco, is one of the major art publishers and retailers in the US and joined us for a tour of the Kingdom with meetings with local art distributors and manufacturers in both Riyadh and Jeddah.

Of course, obstacles will always appear when doing business in Saudi, from lost luggage to last-minute schedule changes, but the AEI team took them in their stride and went above and beyond to provide a fantastic service to our American friends. But don’t just take our word for it!

“On behalf of the VEDP Trade Team, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation for a well-done job! AEI’s actions shined brightly throughout the entire week, and the pre-planning, consulting, match-making and transportation services provided by AEI made the Virginia mission a ‘true’ success. It was a pleasure to finally meet Freddie, Yazan, Jo, Jim and others, though I felt I was already part of the ‘family’ from the weeks of planning and working one-on-one with each of you! Your warm welcome and hospitality was nothing but the ‘best of the best’. I was very impressed with the AEI staff, the energy and team spirit – one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

Diane Thomas, International Trade Manager, Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP)

A special thank you must also be given to our fantastic team of drivers, led by Wajid Khan, who consistently perform to the highest levels while navigating the obstacle course that is Riyadh, ensuring that our clients get to where they need to go on time, safely and in comfort. Many, many thanks to you all!