Explore Export 2014

In the second week of November, Jennifer Hainsworth, the Business Services Manager participated in UKTI’s Explore Export tour. It is an event which tours the United Kingdom to provide British companies with export advice and insight into global business opportunities. In total, she visited 6 cities and saw a total of 48 British Companies. 

BY JENNIFER HAINSWORTH

 

In the second week of November, I participated in the 7th year of UKTI’s Explore Export tour. It is an event which tours the United Kingdom to provide British companies with export advice and insight into global business opportunities.

 

This year, 130 UKTI Commercial Officers and British Chamber of Commerce representatives from 80 countries visited 10 cities across the UK. 

 

In total, I visited 6 cities and saw 48 British Companies. 

 

In advance of the tour, commercial officers were asked to participate in the Explore Export selfie challenge on Twitter. This drove a lot of traffic to the whole UKTI and Chamber network and several markets had their stories picked up in the UK local press. I was featured in an article in the Yorkshire Post which coincided with my visit to Harrogate. 

 

 

Edinburgh: Monday 10 November 2014

 

The week kicked off at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium. Each market adviser had a program of one to one meetings with Scottish companies.  The advisers provided information on direct routes to market and new commercial opportunities. 

 

Companies attending the event were also given the opportunity to attend 4 breakout seminars: Export finance; Developing your products and services for international markets; E-commerce: Reach new markets by selling online; and Safeguarding your intellectual assets. 

 

 

 

Newcastle: Tuesday 11 November 2014

 

On Tuesday, the groups were based in Newcastle at the racecourse for another intensive day of one to one meetings with companies. There was a great deal of interest in Asia, in particular Singapore, from companies in the North East and many had already begun to win business in the ASEAN region. The North East is the only UK region with a positive trade gap and currently exports in excess of £11.5 billion in goods and services annually.

 

Harrogate: Wednesday 12 November 2014

 

 

Enthusiasm for doing business in South East Asia increased as the week progressed. Wednesday brought a full program for Singapore with many companies staying behind to meet me at the end of the day.    Alongside the one to one program with market advisors, UKTI Yorkshire ran a small exhibition zone where companies could meet with selected intermediary organisations who were able to assist them with their exporting requirements.

 

East Midlands: Thursday 13 November 2014

 

On Thursday, the tour was based at Radisson Blu near East Midlands Airport. Without the backdrop of theatres and racecourses, it was visible just how many markets were participating in the tour and the volume of companies that were exploring their export potential. One advisor likened it to sitting his ‘A’ levels with rows and rows of desks as far as the eye could see. 

 

The number of companies with physical products increased significantly, and this was one of the interesting distinctions in this region. The East Midlands has the UK’s highest proportion of employees in manufacturing, and with exports rising to £21.3 billion in 2013 (up from £18.3 billion in the previous 12 months). There was also a much bigger range of sectors seeking to do business in Singapore. 

 

Sheffield and Doncaster: Friday 14th November 2014

 

On Friday, I worked with ITA Neil Brown to visit 4 companies in Sheffield and Doncaster. It is always valuable to see a company in their own surroundings as it helps us to build a much deeper understanding of their business so we can tailor the most appropriate support. It was refreshing to see how much regeneration had gone into the cities of Sheffield and Doncaster and the result was two really dynamic innovative start-ups, a growing family run SME and one of Sheffield’s oldest companies. 

 

One of the companies I visited was Chimo Sheffield (Mfg) Ltd, a premier British manufacturer, blending traditional Sheffield craftsmanship with modern technology to produce an impressive range of the finest quality cutlery, gallery trays, silver and giftware and promotional merchandise, sold all over the world. I had the opportunity to witness first-hand a range of silver tableware being handcrafted. Chris Hudson, the Team principal spoke to me about his plans for Singapore and his current challenges in the UK, particularly with regards to apprentices, so that he could continue the craft into the future. Chris had some constructive suggestions which he was putting to Nick Clegg his MP later that day. We will be welcoming Chris to Singapore as part of a Trade mission from SYITF in December. 

 

 

The second company we visited was a dynamic tech based spinoff from Sheffield and Cranfield universities which use technology to support the motor insurance industry. It was interesting to learn how technology was used to map behaviours and improve safety on the roads. 

 

Next, we went across the city to visit a young but progressive marketing firm that has grown quickly to support a number of other Sheffield based start-ups. Their innovative creative approach was apparent as soon as we arrived and it was nice to see examples of the work they had done for other British brands including creative cake packaging, beer labelling and they even managed to make an accountant look cool! It was also great to see that they had fully embraced children in need and there was a full superhero (this year’s theme) exercise challenge taking place in the lobby. 

 

Finally, the tour concluded with a trip to Doncaster to visit a family owned construction firm specialising in ambient acoustic systems which have been used in the Bank of England, Bulgari Hotel Knightsbridge, Heston Blumenthal "Dinner" Restaurant, British Medical Association and Hilton Metropole, Marble Arch.  The firms are now working with Jenny to explore opportunities for their product and skills in Singapore.  

 
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