Access to exporting success for North East businesses

This autumn sees the launch of an innovative new NECC Programme designed to help North East companies develop or initiate a market presence specifically in the three expanding markets of Brazil, India and Russia

WhiteWash Laboratories managing director Tom Riley
WhiteWash Laboratories managing director Tom Riley

This autumn sees the launch of an innovative new NECC Programme designed to help North East companies develop or initiate a market presence specifically in the three expanding markets of Brazil, India and Russia.

The ERDF funded ‘Access Programme’ is geared towards highlighting the wealth of business opportunity that exists in these countries for local businesses.

Over the course of two years it will seek to dispel myths around potential barriers and pre-conceptions associated with these three countries, whilst highlighting the support packages available for North East companies keen to engage with these markets.

A unique combination of grant support, events and market visits will provide vital business insight into how these countries operate, bringing it all to life with on-the-ground case studies of North East businesses who have trading experience in these areas, with the sole purpose of encouraging exports to the rapidly expanding markets such as Brazil, India and also into areas such as Russia.

Why Russia?

Trevor Barton, Executive Director of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce

“Russia is the UK’s fastest-growing export market, with the value of UK exports to the country increasing by more than £2bn in the past two years. There is a growing middle class with an appetite for quality product and for UK companies in particular, the ‘British Brand’ is a true asset, with the stamp ‘Made in the UK’ recognised as a mark of quality.

“Russia’s ambitious plans for infrastructure development are also promising. Ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 Football World Cup an array of major infrastructure projects have been implemented, offering tremendous opportunities for UK companies to share their expertise. There are plenty of myths about the Russian market, but companies that invest sufficiently in researching, planning and getting to know the country rarely, if ever, face difficulties any worse than in other markets. “

Why Brazil?

Jaime Gornsztejn, Chairman of the Board at Brazilian Chamber of Commerce

“There is every reason for North East businesses to look to Brazil to export, not only is it Latin America’s largest market, Brazil is also the world’s sixth largest economy in GDP terms and the world’s fifth most populous country, so needless to say the opportunities are vast – much like the country itself. With a well-developed regulatory framework and pipeline of opportunities, private sector participation is on the up. The North and Northeast of Brazil combined is the fastest growing consumer market in the country, expected to almost triple in size between 2010 and 2020. There are opportunities in shipbuilding and supply chain; oil and gas; public transport and urban mobility – metro and rail; and alternative energy matrix as well as high demand for quality infrastructure. Sports and major events are particularly high on the economic agenda.”

Why India?

Richard Heald, CEO of UK India Business Council

“Over the last two years, the Indian economy has grown at an incredible six percent, creating exporting and investment opportunities for UK businesses across a range of sectors.

“There are three drivers of this growth: emerging sectors, emerging consumers and emerging regions. India is not just about IT and it is certainly not about call centres. There are tremendous developments happening in sectors where the UK excels: infrastructure and urban development; skills and education; advanced manufacturing; life sciences and healthcare; digital technology; and retail, lifestyle and logistics. This last of the emerging sectors, leads me on to the emerging Indian consumer. The CEOs of Indian supermarkets say that UK food and drink products fly off their shelves. The problem isn’t one of demand. It is of supply. British brands are also succeeding in India: Burberry, Superdry, Thomas Pink, The Body Shop, The Early Learning Centre, Mothercare, Lush. I could go on. The third driver of India’s growth is the dynamism in its emerging cities and States. India is not one country – it is 28 States – and it is not just about Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. There are smaller cities, like Pune, Ahmedabad, and Coimbatore that are growing at double digits.’’

Case Study: Getting a route into Russia

WhiteWash Laboratories provides teeth whitening and oral care products, enabling dentists to provide treatment plans for their patients.

The business has operated out of its Middlesbrough-based headquarters since 2011, headed up by founder and managing director Tom Riley.

Approximately 40 percent of the company’s sales is currently overseas with trading relations already up and running with markets throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australasia and recently Russia.

How & why Russia?

WhiteWash Laboratories’ Tom Riley said: “Russia seemed like a natural progression for us; as a country there is high demand for luxury goods in what’s a rapidly expanding market, indicating a great deal of long-term potential for us as a business.

He continues: “At the outset it became clear the interested parties liked the kudos of having a UK branded product and this, coupled with our company ethos, which is all about high quality product and attractive packaging, seemed to fit the country’s culture perfectly.

“We are excited to be building on our existing foreign exports and are currently planning a market visit to Brazil and the USA in late September.”

“We had initial reservations about trading with the country; they are tough negotiators but great business people who are after a fair price.

“I would recommend that businesses meet interested parties face-to-face, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the business and social culture of Russia.

“There are some great support packages out there from organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce and UKTI to help fund visits.

“Setting up our first trading relationship took around seven months in total but it pays off – you have to put in the time and effort when taking on a new distributor to show your commitment and develop trust.’’

Riley added: “Our website has been a key driver for developing our foreign connections particularly with regards to Russia, so do everything you can to ensure your Google SEO is high.

Don’t be apprehensive about entering a foreign market, there is so much opportunity and support out there and I would urge local businesses to seize the day and start seriously considering their export options.’’

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