Queen’s Award for Enterprise, Knowsley, September 2018

Queen’s Award for Enterprise, Knowsley, September 2018

We were asked by a client to check their eligibility for the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade. The company was, indeed, eligible for the Outstanding Continuous Growth category as their international trade endeavours had resulted in continuous year on year growth, with no “dips”, in the last 6 years. The client then commissioned us to help put their success story into words. We interviewed the client in order to understand their history, products and services, trading and growth strategies and the importance of exporting to the company. Along with the financial information we then wrote compelling answers within the strict word count of each question on the application form.

Our client was delighted to receive the award, attending a Royal “winners” reception at Buckingham Palace, as well as hosting their own ceremony for company personnel, agents and distributors, in which the Queen’s Award crystal bowl was presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside. The company proudly display the Queen’s Award emblem on their marketing materials, with customer-facing personnel also wearing emblem lapel badges to act as a mark of excellence and a real conversation opener when networking.

Commonwealth Day Celebration, Chester, March 2018

Commonwealth Day Celebration, Chester, March 2018

Our Director acts as International Trade Adviser for Warrington Chamber of Commerce & Industry. As part of the Commonwealth Day Celebration on March 19th the Chamber took part in the “How to Trade with the Commonwealth” event at Chester Racecourse. With time commitments focussed on preparing the many export documents for Chamber member shipments, Tricia was asked to represent them at the event. This also called for an updated banner to promote Chamber services to delegates attending from the Warrington & Vale area.

We worked with the Chamber on their marketing message, categorise their services into short bullet points, then worked with our design team for layout. The result was a generic pull-up banner which could be used at this and other events. We also helped to update their marketing pack.

The Commonwealth Day event included a visit by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, who attended not only to celebrate the day and launch the newly merged Merseyside and Cheshire Commonwealth Association, but also, with his supporting work to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, to meet with local DofE award winners from Great Sankey High School, Warrington, who had placed third in the 2017 North of England DofE ‘Exporting Excellence’ pilot scheme.

Insight Visit, Kampala/Gulu, January 2018

Insight Visit, Kampala/Gulu, January 2018

Our Director travelled to Uganda focusing on three centres: the capital, Kampala, in the south, Kiryandongo in central Uganda, home to the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, and Gulu, in northern Uganda, the former epicentre of the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict.

As with our insight visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the journey once again confirmed the necessity of any prospective exporter to visit a country in order to check how written facts and statistics relate to the reality on the ground. Firstly, the sheer size of Uganda becomes evident. Whilst Uganda looks very small on the standard Mercator map projection of Africa it is approximately the size of the UK. With relatively poor transport infrastructure a company solely based in the south will not easily be able to serve the north.  The cultures and language between north and south, indeed throughout Uganda, are also different so take this into consideration.

Uganda is a beautiful country with diverse climates, natural resources, languages and cultures. It is a member of the Commonwealth as well as other regional economic groupings such as the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community (EAC). Read more about our insight visit in our blog Reflections from our First Visit to Uganda.

Insight Visit, Sarajevo/Mostar, April 2017

Insight Visit, Sarajevo/Mostar, April 2017

It is easy to advise on doing business with a country using statistics and prescriptive export models, however, our insight visit to BiH underlined the imperative to visit a country to understand what is going on and whether reality reflects all that is written.  The Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war in BiH, yet the country still sees political division and, some would say, inertia. This is evident by the slow progress made with accession to the EU.

BiH imports almost twice as much as it exports and is still classed as transitioning into a free market economy (1).  Despite the above observation, at grass roots level the citizens of BiH are getting on with everyday life. Yes, there are language differences (consider using interpreters from the locality you are visiting) and yes, due to the lack of single economic space, there may be difficulties doing business across the entire country, however, for the more experienced and persistent exporter there are opportunities. UK companies looking for for further guidance should contact the DIT in-country team based at the British Embassy in Sarajevo.

BiH is a beautiful country. If it ever came off your list of travel destinations then you need to put if back on! For more information on our insight visit read our blog Ethical research in post-conflict environments: a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

(1) US Commercial Service – Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) 2016 Country Commercial Guide 

Meet the Trade Officer, Daresbury, March 2017

Meet the Trade Officer, Daresbury, March 2017

Our Director worked with Chemicals Northwest to organise and host an afternoon of chemical company one-to-one meetings with UK-based and overseas staff from the Department for International Trade.

She liaised with all DIT staff to ensure availability and understand the areas of expertise on offer, then recruited relevant local companies interested in a 20 minute appointment with each officer for guidance on: practical approaches to market research, how DIT North West could assist in growing business overseas, national activity by DIT Chemicals Sector Group in London and help from the chemicals trade officers from DIT Düsseldorf and Barcelona on market entry or resolving current issues.

Despite a small hiccup in flights and having to set up Skype appointments with Barcelona the feedback from delegate companies was very positive with the sessions described as encouraging and providing real opportunities to grow business.

Open to Export Awards, Liverpool, June 2016

Open to Export Awards, Liverpool, June 2016

Our client wished to enter the Open to Export International Business Awards with the chance of winning £3,000 towards implementing future export plans. We guided the client through the online application form which generated an export action plan. This plan was then  judged by an expert panel organised by the Institute of Export and International Trade.

Our client was delighted to be selected as one of 10 finalists out of 400 applicants.  and was required to pitch their export plan, and how they would utilise the prize money, to a separate judging panel during an open forum at the International Festival of Business in Liverpool. We coached our client on the pitch as well as presentation skills. Although our client was not proclaimed the overall winner, the opportunity to present to an expert panel, in front of business leaders, was a very useful experience. As a finalist they also won a year’s free small business membership with the Institute of Export and International Trade.

IFB2016, Liverpool, June 2016

IFB2016, Liverpool, June 2016

For Manufacturing Week at the 2016 International Festival for Business in Liverpool our client required assistance in designing their message and stand graphics for a small 4m² booth. They also required help on the stand during the week.

The client has a long list of capabilities and service offerings so we collated everything into three main categories. Three panels were designed, each with headers in large font to attract interested parties from afar. Once closer, we made sure each bullet point was short and potent to retain interest and promote further discussion. A panel giving an overview of the company was also created.

For the stand assistance, whilst we are specialists in events and exhibitions, we were also experienced in the client’s industry. Responsibilities were to be there, bright and breezy, each day; maintain stand tidiness; engage with passers-by; take enquiries when the client was occupied in meetings and organise the many business cards taken so the client could decide what level of follow-up was required.