Exporters from across the South East have celebrated their success in international sales with help from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) South East.
Hosted at the Royal Automobile Club in Epsom, Surrey, the export event included companies that had benefited from UKTI’s award winning Passport to Export programme, and included keynote speeches from renowned rugby union player and world cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward and Rona Fairhead CBE, UK Business Ambassador and non-executive director for HSBC.
Businesses were given the opportunity to build on their international achievements by meeting with UKTI international trade advisers (ITAs) in a series of one-to-one clinics.
In the last five years, 935 businesses in the South East have been helped by the award-winning Passport to Export scheme.
Lewis Scott, regional director for UKTI South East said:
“It’s important to celebrate the success of our local exporters, whose contribution to the local economy is vital. From increasing turnover to assuring local jobs, the value of exporting cannot be overstated.
“The event gave us the opportunity to hear how companies have flourished since working with us and provided an opportunity for them to hear more about what more UKTI can continue to offer.”
Since starting the Passport to Export course in 2011, Weybridge-based firm Svaja have secured orders across the Middle East in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar.
Kristina Bobs, managing director, said: “Our company was lucky to have a professional, dedicated and enthusiastic UKTI Trade Adviser, Andrew Parkinson, who guided us to the Passport to Export Scheme.
“UKTI provided us with all the right tools and expertise to succeed and understand the complexities of international trade.
“Our first trip to the Middle East was in 2011 and since that time we have secured contracts worth in excess of £1 million and we are now working on a contract worth a further £2.5 million.
“These deals have enabled us to increase our team by another two designers and we will be opening our first showroom in Dubai in 2014. We are also in discussion with investors and hope to open a manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia by 2015.”
Since starting the Passport to Export course in 2012, Sevenoaks firm Candella have secured orders across Europe, in Switzerland and France, and in North Africa, in Morocco and Algeria.
Paul Obey, managing director, said: “Our company was lucky to have an extremely helpful UKTI Trade Adviser, Terry Dunk, who introduced us to the Passport to Export Scheme
“With the help of the Passport to Export Scheme, we have taken our turnover from zero to over £3 million in just two years have been able to employ three additional members of staff at our Sevenoaks headquarters.
“The Passport to Export Scheme was a platform for us to take off and UKTI helped enormously by putting us in touch with the right people and telling us about relevant events.”
Former winners of the UKTI South East’s Export for Growth prize Avtura, based in West Sussex, have doubled their staff since they took part in the Passport to Export scheme in 2008.
Christopher Meeking, CEO, said: “Six years since participating in the Passport to Export scheme, we have broken into the Middle and Far Eastern markets and export to countries such as the USA and Africa. This has helped us increase our revenue to such a degree that over the next five years we expect to make between £1m and £2m.
Lewis continued: “I’m very keen to see other companies across the South East follow the example of these companies, and become an international success story.
“There’s nothing stopping firms across the region from making the most of their export potential and exploring the options that are available to them in hundreds of exciting markets across the world.”