SXSW success for UK Department for International Trade

The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, brings together the interactive, music and film industries, enabling global professionals in creative fields to exchange ideas and attend sessions, showcases, screenings and exhibitions. In March 2017, the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) offered a range of networking opportunities and events to showcase the best in British innovation and creativity, and help UK companies get the most out of SXSW.

More than 3,000 people visited the Great Britain House and UK stand at the SXSW Trade Show, imagining how innovation can create a better self, a better world, and a better future. Over three days the Great Britain House hosted 23 varied events and activities – from a research-driven meeting on Smart Cities to one of the UK’s top grime DJs and everything in between. The trade show stand operated for four days of meetings and showcases for 17 trade mission companies and 20+ other partners on rotation between the two venues. Additionally, for the first time Arts Council England and British Underground brought nine arts organisations to SXSW to demonstrate the convergence between art and technology. Throughout it all, Minister of State for Trade & Investment Greg Hands was there to showcase the best in UK innovation and creativity. The British Music Embassy then hosted more than 30 performers, including one of this year’s hottest tickets, Rag‘n’Bone Man.

The SXSW activity promoted the UK as a competitive business destination and demonstrated UK business expertise in the tech and creative sectors. A partnership with IDG Media (home of Computerworld and PC World, among others) resulted in live streams with participating trade mission and partner companies on topics including women in tech, tech trends, virtual reality, the use of tech in arts and culture, and others. The live-streamed content is now available on DIT HQ’s YouTube channel. Press coverage reached a total potential audience of 434 million+, with mentions in Huffington Post and The Wrap. One of DIT’s trade mission companies, Pavegen, won SXSW Interactive’s Smart Cities award for their energy-generating flooring. Another, KYMIRA Sport won a start-up prize for their wearable tech and had an article in Sports Illustrated. Overall, the event was a strong showcase for UK innovation and creativity.


Words by Caroline Hendrix, Marketing Campaign Manager at UK Department for International Trade (DIT). Image provided by DIT.

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