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Prince of Wales champions export drive of traditional manufacturers

Published: 23/12/13

The Prince of Wales’ recent visit to Bedfordshire put the spotlight on traditional UK small and medium size business (SMEs) that use the heritage of their products to increase overseas sales.

On his visit to Jordans Mill in Biggleswade the Prince met six locally based companies including a 300 year old hat maker and a brewer with over 100 years experience. The firms export to countries both within Europe and further afield including USA, UAE, and Japan.

The East of England has seen an 8.7% growth of exports to countries outside the European Union at £12.11 billion – accounting for 44% of the region’s overall exports compared to 39% a year ago.

The export section of the Prince’s visit to the region has been organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) as part of efforts to promote exporting and help the government achieve its target of getting up to 100,000 more (SMEs) to export which would generate an extra £30 billion for the UK economy.

Liz Basing, Regional Director of East of England, said:

"More and more companies are finding that there is a strong demand overseas for products that have both the heritage and badge of quality given by the ‘Made in Britain’ stamp.

“Today puts a group of top Bedfordshire exporters in the spotlight and I'm delighted we have the opportunity to showcase these companies as a sample of the best the county has to offer.

“Companies that seek out help from UKTI do better and I encourage businesses inspired by today’s visit to get in contact with us.”

Prior to the visit, Helen Nellis, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, said:

"I am looking forward to welcoming the Prince of Wales to our county and introducing him to the range of excellent businesses which thrive in our community.

“Jordans provides a wonderful setting in which to showcase the best of Bedfordshire."

The companies who met the Prince have all received, or are about to receive, support from UKTI to export. They are:

  • Boatswain Lighting Ltd combines the beauty of porcelain and the latest technical lighting developments to produce lights that push the boundaries of this ancient material. Individual overseas customers include the Four Seasons Hotel, Marriott Hotel and Sheraton Hotel. Boatswain is a UKTI Passport to Export customer.
  • Brinkley Propeller Services Ltd is one of the major facilities for aircraft propeller overhaul and repair in the UK. The company is set to increase export sales with help from UKTI’s Passport to Export scheme.
  • The Jordans & Ryvita Company Ltd makes cereals and crackers from the manufacturing facility adjacent to the Jordans Mill Heritage Centre at Holme Mills. Jordans purchases 80% of ingredients (by volume) from UK farmers in the form of oats, rye, wheat and barley. The company's products are enjoyed in over 60 countries.
  • Tusting and Burnett Ltd manufactures leather used in handbags, boots and small leather goods sold across the world. The great majority of the company's sales come from export. They are currently participating in UKTI’s Gateway to Global Growth programme and use other services including the Tradeshow Access Programme which helps companies exhibit overseas.
  • Walter Wright Ltd has been involved in the making of quality ladies hats for over 300 years, making them one of the oldest "blood line" hat manufacturers in the world. The company designs and makes hats for individuals, film, theatre, television and supplies large and small department stores and boutiques world-wide. Walter Wright is a graduate of UKTI’s Passport to export scheme.
  • Charles Wells Ltd is the UK's largest private brewery, with some of the nation's best loved beers. Charles Wells exports to over 40 countries, an achievement that was marked by the company receiving the ‘Queen’s Award for Export Achievement’ in 1997. UKTI is working with this company as part of our Mid-Sized Business programme.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice.

They support companies of all sizes and at all levels of export experience. In the regions, the bulk of their clients are small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) and a large part of their work is about taking companies who don’t export, or who have made small scale reactive overseas sales on a journey to greater export success. Typically this will start with exports to an accessible market in Europe and move on, as the company gains expertise and wants to do more, to sales in the Far East and other higher growth markets.

Exporting is GREAT

Last month the UKTI launched a new national campaign, Exporting is GREAT, which is targeting almost 3 million people with the ambition of generating 3000 appointments with UKTI Advisers.

Through these appointments UKTI International Trade Advisers will give small businesses direct access to expert advice, support and finance to help them export. The campaign will cost £2.4 million and drive £1.2 billion in incremental export revenue from the leads it generates. The campaign features two SMEs who have grown their business internationally as a result of UKTI advice. Their case studies are available from the UKTI press office. For more information, SMEs should go to www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/ukti or call 0800 093 2094.

With businesses earning £100,000 on average in additional sales within 18 months of working with UKTI, there is significant growth potential for SMEs that start exporting.


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