A family-owned and operated Huddersfield company, Eurostar Commodities, now finds itself supplying rice to UAE. Yet another small company, The Salmon Man, is now selling Yorkshire salmon to Canada.
These are just two of a multitude of success stories that have come about as a result of being part of a Northern Powerhouse DIT trade mission abroad. In the case of Eurostar, it saw Managing Director Phil Bull winging his way with a group to attend the Gulfood show in Dubai. For David Smith of The Salmon Man it was going to the Winter Fancy Food Show in the US which led to his first export sale to Canada.
Both companies had their own International Trade Adviser from DIT to provide advice on a range of issues facing exporters – from price point research to packaging and product information.
This is all part of DIT’s practical approach to overseas events, which fall into two categories.
One of these is the ‘taster mission’ for brand new exporters, where DIT teams find them opportunities in a particular country and then take them there to meet with potential buyers. Those tend to be to markets close by, like the Republic of Ireland or Estonia.
The other category heads for far flung places – countries that can be daunting and difficult for new exporters. Last year saw a series of missions to such destinations as Gulfood, Dubai, a Creative and Digital mission to South Korea, and a Chemical sector mission to Mumbai and Bangalore. In January this year, DIT part-funded the Arab Health trade mission of 60 Northern Powerhouse companies to Dubai, which included a five-day programme of visits, meetings and market access set up by DIT and its partners.
From January 2017 to April 2017, the DIT Northern Powerhouse team set up 13 trade and five taster missions across a number of sectors to support UK businesses with more planned for the next 12 months and beyond. #
Phil Bull of Eurostar summed up the feeling towards DIT of the companies who joined this mission.
“Thank you for all your help, it was very much appreciated and invaluable for a small company”.
Loan guarantee helps Algeos in its Middle East expansion
Liverpool-based Algeos began exporting when it identified an opportunity as countries in the Middle East began experiencing a spike in diabetes. As Algeos produces specialist footwear to prevent lower limb loss caused by diabetes, in 2010 the company opened an office in Dubai to facilitate the supply of its lifechanging foot health range to the region’s diabetes sufferers.
Soon after, it won a major two-year-long contract to provide these products to SGH, the Executive Board of the Health Ministers’ Council of GCC States, which controls procurement for hospitals in six countries. Algeos has continued to win this tender in each year since.
The 2015 order was a particularly significant one, nearly double the value of previous years at US$4.2m, and with it SGH required extended payment terms. Coupled with long lead-in times for ordering supplies and making this sizeable order, the contract meant that Algeos needed significantly more working capital than it was able to access through its existing arrangements.
Working with Dan Green, International Trade Manager at NatWest, the company’s bank, UK Export Finance (UKEF) was able to provide a solution. By guaranteeing part of a £650,000 loan to support Algeos working capital, UKEF was able to help it access the finance it needed to fulfil this major contract, paving the way for continued success in the region.
“Finding gaps in the global market and alternative uses for our products has been the key to our international growth” says Jackie Fisher, Chief Executive Officer at the global medical technology company, A. Algeo Ltd (Algeos).
“Without the short-term financial support UKEF and NatWest were able to provide, we would not have had the resources to fulfil this significant order. Working with UKEF has given us the opportunity to realise a substantial increase in our revenue and to grow our presence in an important market.”
Established in 1881, Algeos was bought by Alan Sheridan in 1990. Under the Sheridan family’s ownership, Algeos has grown from a turnover of £65k to a £10m business today.
“UKEF is here to help make exports happen. By providing a solution to finance this export order, we were able to support Algeos’ ambitions to grow its sales abroad,” says Kevin Ledwith, Export Finance Adviser for the North West, UKEF.