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World Trade Centers Association’s 2022 General Assembly “Exploring New Horizons” Attracts Nearly 600 Participants from More Than 60 Countries

Artificial Intelligence-powered matchmaking platform fostered global B2B networking during virtual conference focused on business opportunities throughout Africa
Apr 28, 2022

NEW YORK (April 28, 2022) – The World Trade Centers Association® (WTCA®), an international trade organization connecting over 300 World Trade Center® (WTC®) locations in nearly 100 countries, gathered nearly 600 participants from more than 60 countries at its 2022 General Assembly (GA), which was held virtually from April 18-22. Attendees participated in two days of livestream sessions featuring prominent keynote speakers discussing business opportunities in Africa and a full week of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered B2B matchmaking opportunities across all time zones. Focused on the theme, “Exploring New Horizons,” the GA demonstrated the strength of the WTCA network, and offered attendees the opportunity to learn from leading experts and to connect with each other virtually.

“Even though our association’s premier global annual event was held virtually again this year, our AI-powered B2B matchmaking platform continued to offer attendees the ability to maximize time spent establishing business connections – with valuable access 24/7 around the world,” said John E. Drew, WTCA Chair, Board of Directors. “During this year’s event, we explored the wide range of industries and sectors in Africa, and the qualities that makes the continent an investment destination. Africa is in a geo-strategic location to support both the Asian and European markets from a nearshoring perspective, and is a viable partner for our members and their global business networks.”

The 2022 GA offered a series of informative livestream events, including fireside chats, panel discussions and presentations on topics intended to showcase the African business community. The keynote address featured Atsuko Toda, acting Vice President for agriculture, human and social development of the African Development Bank, who discussed the acceleration of the African agriculture transformation. Other notable sessions included a fireside chat with Soji Awogbade, Partner and Lead of the International Trade, Energy and Natural Resources and Agriculture Practice Groups at ǼLEX, talking about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); as well as a panel discussion on doing business in Africa with WTCA members from Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritius and Nigeria. 

“This year’s GA uncovered that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the crux of the African economy and there is so much potential for global trade and investment,” said Robin van Puyenbroeck, WTCA Executive Director-Business Development. “Our global network of World Trade Center businesses is critical to drive opportunities throughout the continent because each represents hundreds, sometimes thousands, of SMEs. It is through this connectivity and power of our network that our association can help facilitate business on a global scale across industries and sectors.”

Attendees were also briefed on many different updates across the WTCA, including the official announcement of the winners of the 2021-2022 WTCA 2021-2022 WTCA Champions Awards.

“With a renewed focus on business in Africa, we hope this GA provided a glimpse into the opportunities available at next year’s, which will be hosted in Accra, Ghana by World Trade Center Accra,” Drew announced.

The 2023 WTCA GA will be held from April 23-28.

To view recordings of the livestream sessions from the 2022 WTCA GA, please click here.

Check out our feature in CNBC Africa where WTCA Executive Director-Business Development Robin van Puyenbroeck sits with Fifi Peters on her  “Power Lunch SA” show to discuss key takeaways from the recent 2022 WTCA General Assembly  including how the Association helps SMEs facilitate global trade, business opportunities in Africa and what makes the continent an investment destination. The interview features a great conversation on agriculture, access to financing and the AfCFTA, and can be viewed  here

MEDIA CONTACT:

World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

Chanelle Kasik

Phone: +1 212 432 2644

Email: ckasik@wtca.org

About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 92 countries. As the owner of the “World Trade Center” and “WTC” trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit www.wtca.org.


World Trade Centers Association Reveals 2nd Annual Champions Awards Winners

Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the association’s global network, as well as their local and global communities
Apr 21, 2022

NEW YORK, NY – April 21, 2022 The World Trade Centers Association® (WTCA®) recently announced the winners of the 2022 WTCA Champions Awards during its 2022 WTCA General Assembly to recognize outstanding contributions from member World Trade Center® (WTC®) businesses within the WTCA network, and in their local and global communities. The association’s global network is comprised of more than 300 WTC locations in nearly 100 countries.

This year’s competition featured 18 nominees who were nominated by their fellow WTCA members, while the final winners were selected for their contributions to the network across four categories — Connectivity, Reciprocity, Network Support and Sustainability — and the coveted Member of the Year award exemplifying the values, vision, mission and goals of the association.

“Throughout the past year, we have seen a number of remarkable initiatives, projects and events led by our WTCA Members during this ‘new normal.’ We are thrilled to award this year’s recipients of the WTCA Champions Awards – and even more so with two returning winners from the inaugural competition – for their outstanding contributions to the WTCA network, and their local and global communities,” stated John E. Drew, Chair, Board of Directors of the WTCA.

The winners are as follows:

  • Champion Award for Member of the Year: Karen Gerwitz of WTC Denver for her coordinating role in the WTCA Trade Service Operating Manual, which provides member support to connect with their counterparts within the network to foster international trade. With the manual, she also expands the reach and quality of the trade services, which helps WTCA members maintain and provide the highest quality service to their business members.
  • Champion Award for Connectivity: Freerk Faber of WTC Twente for initiating a number of joint projects between WTC businesses, and his dedication and willingness to improve the WTCA network and connections.
  • Champion Award for Reciprocity: Evert Jan (EJ) Schouwstra of WTC Leeuwarden for his involvement as Vice-Chair and current Chair of the EMEA Trade Services Member Advisory Council as well as his “Promising Cities for International Business” webinar series.
  • Champion Award for Network Support: WTC Toronto for initiating the Trade Accelerator Program and taking the lead on virtual and in-person trade missions with other WTC businesses, and supporting those WTC businesses to host their own.
  • Champion Award for Sustainability: WTC St. Louis for its Mosaic Project to integrate immigrants into the St. Louis community for equal opportunity and gain the support of the international business community.

“On behalf of the association, we extend our congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees,” said Robin van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director-Business Development of the WTCA. “Our network was founded with the mission to ‘connect locally and prosper globally,’ and we continue to be impressed by the gold standards of service that our member base demonstrates on a daily basis to drive a positive impact on global trade and investment.”

All winners were announced and awarded virtually by Robin van Puyenbroeck during the WTCA’s General Assembly where more than 500 participants across 134 WTC locations in more than 60 countries came together for the association’s global virtual conference. To learn more, please visit the Champions Awards homepage and follow the WTCA on social media using the hashtag #WTCAChampion:

MEDIA CONTACT:

World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

Chanelle Kasik

Phone: +1 212 432 2644

Email: ckasik@wtca.org

About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 92 countries. As the owner of the “World Trade Center” and “WTC” trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit www.wtca.org.


World Trade Centers Association Focuses on Business Opportunities in Africa at its 2022 General Assembly “Exploring New Horizons”

Artificial Intelligence-powered matchmaking platform to once again foster global B2B networking during 100% virtual business conference
Apr 08, 2022

New York, NY (April 8, 2022) — The World Trade Centers Association® (WTCA®) — an international trade organization connecting more than 300 World Trade Center® (WTC®) locations in nearly 100 countries — will host its annual 2022 WTCA General Assembly (GA) with a focus on business opportunities in Africa. This year’s event will once again be complimentary and held virtually with an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered B2B matchmaking platform to maximize time spent establishing business connections between attendees around the world. Hosted by the WTCA team in New York, the business conference will be held from Monday, April 18 to Friday, April 22.

The GA will bring together WTCA Members and their global business networks consisting of leaders from business, government, academia, media and international organizations, reflecting the WTCA's diverse global footprint. With the theme of “Exploring New Horizons,” the 2022 GA promises to be a unique and engaging week-long event, demonstrating the strength of the WTCA network and offering attendees the opportunity to learn from leading experts and connect with each other virtually through the matchmaking platform.

“For the second year in a row, we are pleased to host the GA virtually and offer AI-powered B2B matchmaking to all attendees free of charge. This platform is an efficient and effective way to find business prospects around the world, and has become a huge benefit to enhance our network’s ability to connect and facilitate trade for our Members and their business networks,” said John E. Drew, Chair, Board of Directors of the WTCA. “Also, with a renewed focus on business in Africa, we hope this GA provides a glimpse into the opportunities available at next year’s GA – which will be hosted in Accra, Ghana by World Trade Center Accra.”

This year’s GA will feature two half-days of livestream programming, kicking off on April 19 with WTCA Members-only programming to provide updates from the WTCA Board of Directors and senior leadership, as well as from the nine Member Advisory Councils (MACs) covering Agriculture, Business Clubs, Conferences & Exhibitions, Real Estate and Trade Services. On April 20, the last day of the GA’s mainstage programming – which is open to all attendees – will include a keynote address with Atsuko Toda, Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development of the African Development Bank; a fireside chat with Soji Awogbade, Partner and Lead of the International Trade, Energy & Natural Resources and Agriculture Practice Groups at ǼLEX, on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); as well as a panel discussion on "Africa, Continent of Opportunity" with WTCA Members from Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritius and Nigeria. The day will conclude with the kick-off to the 2023 General Assembly. Livestream programming is open to all attendees unless otherwise noted for “WTCA Members only” and will be hosted in English with simultaneous translations in French and Spanish.

Available to GA attendees 24/7 for the whole week from April 18 to April 22 across all time zones, the AI-powered matchmaking platform uses an algorithm to collect and process individual interests of every event attendee, providing them with the means to discover the right content, foster meaningful connections with relevant matches and achieve individual goals. The tool also has the ability to learn from attendee interactions, further improving match relevance in real time and scheduling virtual one-on-one meetings instantaneously. Business sectors represented by attendees at the 2022 GA include: Agriculture; Automation & Automotive; Construction & Engineering; Energy, Power, Gas, Petroleum, Renewables; Fintech, Enterprise Software, Data, IT; Food & Beverage; Metals & Mining; Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, Medical Devices; Real Estate Development, Rental, Leasing, Sales; Tourism & Hospitality; and Transportation, Logistics, Telecommunications.

“With the addition of the AI-powered matchmaking tool to our annual offerings, the association now provides 24/7 matchmaking on a global level, across all industries and sectors,” said Robin van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director-Business Development of the WTCA. “The platform is seamless and easy-to-use, allowing attendees to participate in relevant B2B meetings while its algorithm does the work for them. We strongly encourage all businesses looking for new connections to participate in this year’s GA. It is an opportunity you do not want to miss.”

For more information about the 2022 WTCA General Assembly, please visit https://wtca.swoogo.com/2022wtcageneralassembly. Also, follow along on social media #WTCAGeneralAssembly.

MEDIA CONTACT:

World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
Chanelle Kasik
Phone: +1 212 432 2644
Email: ckasik@wtca.org

About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 92 countries. As the owner of the “World Trade Center” and “WTC” trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit www.wtca.org.


World Trade Centers Association Honored for Dedication to International Trade and Investment by Diane Farrell, Acting Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce

Certificate of Appreciation presented virtually at the 2021 WTCA Member Forum
Nov 22, 2021

New York, NY (November 22, 2021) The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) — a global network of more than 300 highly-connected, mutually supportive businesses and organizations — was recently awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation for its timeless dedication to intercultural understanding, and international trade and investment by the International Trade Administration (ITA). The award was presented by Diane Farrell, Acting Under Secretary and the Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade of the U.S. Department of Commerce, along with the U.S. Commercial Service New York and ITA teams. The WTCA’s John E. Drew, Chairman of the Board of Directors; and Robin van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director-Business Development, accepted the award on behalf of the association at the 2021 WTCA Member Forum , where nearly 600 participants gathered virtually across 117 World Trade Center locations in 50 countries around the world.

“Created in 2002, the certificate recognizes foreign business partners, trade associations, U.S. government agencies and other qualified recipients for supporting U.S. export development and creating opportunities for U.S businesses through trade,” stated Diane Farrell during the presentation ceremony. “A valued partner of the U.S. Commercial Service New York for more than 20 years, the WTCA is being recognized today for its unwavering dedication to and success in international trade promotion in the face of adversity. Similar to the association’s resilience following the tragic events of September 11, the global network came together as ‘one WTCA’ throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — sharing resources, best practices and strategies to aid their local economies — symbolizing strength, hope, prosperity and resilience during these uncertain times.”

The WTCA and its global network of member World Trade Center businesses are dedicated to the facilitation of global trade. A World Trade Center location can supply businesses with access to international trade services and facilities, organize trade delegations, or facilitate trade by bringing together the offices of government and industry. The WTCA partners with leading industry organizations and initiatives such as the Global Trade Helpdesk, which is developed jointly by the World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and International Trade Centre (ITC). As an active Participant in the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact) the WTCA also stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles and brings together businesses in support of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Further, during the pandemic, the WTCA has hosted three virtual global events rooted in global trade and introduced an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered B2B matchmaking platform to facilitate the virtual networking component of the programs to connect attendees in a new environment, and launched its new WTCA “Trade Wins” Podcast series, which features thought-provoking conversations with leading experts to navigate today’s changing environment.

“On behalf of the WTCA and its members, I am honored to accept this certificate,” said John E. Drew, WTCA Chair, Board of Directors. “We would like to thank Diane Farrell of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the ITA and U.S. Commercial Service New York teams, for this grand recognition. It has been a pleasure partnering with these organizations over the past two decades, and we look forward to growing our relationship to further showcase the important role that trade plays in our national economy.”

Robin van Puyenbroeck, WTCA Executive Director-Business Development, emphasized: “We are humbled by this recognition and greatly value our partnership with the ITA and the U.S. Commercial Service teams serving around the world. There is tremendous synergy with our association serving as a true beehive of economic activity and an effective global network facilitating business every day. We are an incredibly diverse organization comprised of an ecosystem of economic development agencies, real estate developers, universities, logistical hubs, airports, free zones, conference and exhibition centers, and more. This award goes out to all of our members for their hard work over the years to reaffirm our association’s mission to connect globally and prosper locally.”

MEDIA CONTACT:

World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
Chanelle Kasik
Phone: +1 212 432 2644
Email: ckasik@wtca.org

About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 91 countries. As the owner of the “World Trade Center” and “WTC” trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit www.wtca.org.

International Trade Administration (ITA)
The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. ITA has more than 2,200 employees assisting U.S. exporters in more than 100 U.S. cities and 75 markets worldwide. The U.S. Commercial Service is the export promotion arm of the International Trade Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. For more information on ITA and the U.S. Commercial Service visit www.trade.gov.


World Trade Centers Association Foundation Launches Third Annual “Peace Through Trade” Student Competition and Expands Global Reach for Student Applicants

2021-2022 competition now open to all students aged 18-29 located around the world in collaboration with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI)
Oct 25, 2021

New York, NY (October 25, 2021) — The World Trade Centers Association Foundation (WTCAF) is proud to announce the launch of its third annual “Peace Through Trade” student competition — a program designed to identify and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders from the 300-plus cities where a World Trade Center branded business is located. Members from the World Trade Centers Association’s (WTCA) global network spanning nearly 100 countries have the opportunity to submit projects from local students to compete in the program and become champions of global trade. New this year, in collaboration with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) , the program is open to all students around the world, including the UNAI’s vibrant and diverse network of more than 1,400 member institutions in more than 147 countries that reach over 25 million people, comprised of students, academics, scientists, researchers, think tanks, institutions of higher education, continuing education and educational associations.

“The Peace Through Trade competition is designed to help grow and inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs while promoting ethical and sustainable international business practices that will impact their communities,” said Catherine Lee, Chair of the WTCAF Board of Directors. “The WTCAF recognizes the value of being at the forefront of nurturing innovation at a young age and in an effort to further our engagement with young leaders and innovators, we are excited to expand the reach of our global student competition and collaborate with the UNAI to extend the invitation to its network.”

Student teams are encouraged to submit their applications for this year’s competition to present original projects, products, or other innovative ideas that exemplify and promote social innovation and sustainability through collaboration, fair trade, and ethical international business practices. Projects must also address at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) , such as no poverty, zero hunger, and sustainable cities and communities. Interested student teams can contact the foundation at foundation@wtca.org . Eligible applicants must be individuals, or teams of individuals made up of not more than four members; be a member of any college, university, trade school or other educational institution between the ages of 18-29 at the time of the submission deadline; be able to present their project in PowerPoint or other similar format (no more than 20 slides); and be able to present their project via video conference to the WTCAF Board. The submission period for the 2021-2022 competition runs from October 25, 2021 through June 30, 2022. There are no fees associated for students to participate in this year’s competition. Entries must be in English and only one submission per individual/team of individuals will be accepted.

The winning team will be awarded a cash prize of USD $3,000 — to be distributed evenly amongst team members — along with an opportunity to participate in the WTCA’s 2022 virtual General Assembly to be held April 11-15 of that year — the association’s premier global annual event, gathering representatives from WTCA members and their business networks including leaders from business, government, academia, media and international organizations, reflecting the WTCA's diverse global footprint. They will have the opportunity to present their idea virtually to a global audience and be honored by attendees during the event. They will also be featured in a future episode of the global WTCA “Trade Wins” Podcast and receive a certificate of recognition by the WTCAF Board. The first runner-up team will be awarded a cash prize of USD $1,500 — also to be distributed evenly amongst team members — and a certificate of recognition by the WTCAF Board.

“The WTCAF’s global initiative aligns with the UNAI’s mission to support and contribute to the realization of the United Nations’ 17 SDGs and mandates by harnessing the energy and innovation of young people,” said Robin van Puyenbroeck, Director of the WTCA Foundation and also Executive Director-Business Development at the WTCA. “This year’s program will provide thousands of students around the world the opportunity to access a global professional network of key leaders and share their vision with a global audience of leaders and policymakers. We very much look forward to great participation and a successful, inspiring competition.”

For more information about the 2021-2022 WTCAF “Peace Through Trade” Competition, please visit https://wtca.swoogo.com/2021PeaceThroughTrade .

MEDIA CONTACT:

World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
Chanelle Kasik
Phone: +1 212 432 2644
Email:  ckasik@wtca.org

About World Trade Centers Association Foundation

The World Trade Centers Association Foundation (WTCAF) is a private, U.S. tax-exempt, charitable organization (501c3) founded in 2007, the mission of which is to conduct programs that promote social welfare in the pursuit and support of activities that foster peace and social stability. The WTCAF makes a difference by encouraging a better understanding of international trade; promoting and developing sustainable farming, energy, and transportation and trading activities; elevating the standard of living in less developed countries; and promoting ethical international business practices. To learn more visit www.wtcafoundation.org.

About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 91 countries. As the owner of the “World Trade Center” and “WTC” trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit www.wtca.org.