A delegation of Pennsylvania business owners, led by Gov. Tom Corbett, was in California this week promoting the state to technology firms in the Silicon Valley.
On the trip agenda were meetings with Google, Facebook and game maker Electronic Arts, as well as venture capital firms and industry groups.
“The purpose of this meeting is to be described in basically one word: jobs,” Corbett said during a conference call Wednesday, the last day of the two-day trip. “Trying to bring jobs and investment to Pennsylvania.”
Corbett was joined by a dozen Pittsburgh-area entrepreneurs seeking to gain contacts on the West Coast and grow their businesses.
“It’s been really key to come out here and deepen our network and make connections. It’s been a great trip so far for us,” said Adam Lyons, founder of Insurance Zebra, a website that allows users to compare auto insurance rates.
This week’s trade mission was Corbett’s second this year; in March, he led a delegation to France and Germany.
The trip to Silicon Valley was meant to promote Pennsylvania’s technology corridors and educated workforce to highly sought-after tech companies.
“It’s clear that there is a definite interest here,” Corbett said. “The economies are completely different. The budget consequences that we face are magnified tenfold here in California. If you follow the trends that are going on, a number of companies have moved out of Silicon Valley, many to Texas because Texas has been attractive. We’d like to make ourselves attractive and have those people come here to Pennsylvania.”
During the trip, Corbett and other members of his administration, including Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker, met with California companies to discuss moving to Pennsylvania or expanding existing facilities in this state. They also met with companies to discuss how to use technology to make state government more efficient, Corbett said.
At the same time, Pennsylvania entrepreneurs had the chance to meet one-on-one with some of the leading technology venture capital firms.
Pennsylvania’s educated workforce, low energy costs and its proximity to New York, Washington, D.C., and other industry hubs are key benefits, Corbett said.
Discussions were “promising,” Corbett said, but no deals were signed.
“This is a courtship period,” he said.