Monday, 25 Jun 2012
A scientist working with a microscope in a laboratory
An Eagle Eye for Exports
The Nottinghamshire based company manufactures and supplies medical, scientific, educational and vocational training equipment across the globe. The company has always been export focussed and from initial success in Nigeria over 30 years ago, has since spread its wings across Africa, the Arabian Gulf, the Indian subcontinent and Asia.
Over a third of the company’s business comes from the Aid Funded sector, delivering international projects in the developing world, financed by organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, Regional Development Banks, the European Commission and the UK Department for International Development (DfID).
“Aid Funded Business is a very rewarding sector to work in,” as Special Projects Manager for Eagle Scientific, Geoff Swainson, explains. “It can be a very useful route to market as once you’re established as a credible supplier in this arena, commercial opportunities to the same clients or countries become more accessible. And in a world where securing payment for supply of goods or services can be a challenge in itself, knowing funding is guaranteed and in place and that you will be paid on time is a real advantage.”
“Having said that, doing aid funded business is not the same as exporting to France or Spain,” Geoff continues, “There are complex international tendering procedures, changing rules and new regulations - you need to keep on top of rapidly emerging opportunities and maintain good networks across the world. Even though we’ve over 30 years’ experience in the sector, we still find that UKTI can provide invaluable help with these challenges.”
The firm is signed up to UKTI’s Business Opportunity alerts, receiving relevant international tender and opportunity leads direct to their inbox from UKTI’s huge network of global contacts. Over the years Eagle Scientific has participated in many markets visits, not only to key countries but also to major funding agencies, and company representatives have also met with UKTI commercial officers visiting the UK to discuss specific areas of interest.
Eagle Scientific also works closely with the Aid Funded Business Service (AFBS), jointly run by the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and British Expertise on behalf of UKTI.
Intelligence gathering is an essential part of the company’s successful approach. Geoff explains, “We have a large sales team travelling widely researching new markets and looking
after people in our existing markets. We spend a lot of resource networking with our contacts on the ground as they can keep tabs on projects that are going on locally. Combining that knowledge with desk based alerts and research here in the UK, we can pick up on the opportunities ahead of the competition. The more information you’ve got
the better you are placed. We wouldn’t be able to access this on our own, without UKTI.”
For companies considering venturing into the Aid Funded sector, Geoff has some further words of advice. “Never underestimate the amount of resource you will need to be successful in this sector. Building and maintaining momentum is key - you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball.”
“Utilise all the support you can, including using the AFBS, UKTI and all your contacts in key regions and within key agencies – they’ll be able to advise on the best way of entering a new market.”
Doing business in another country can be a challenge, so it’s good to know that UK Trade & Investment is there to help you succeed.
Through a range of unique services, including participation at selected trade fairs, overseas missions and providing bespoke market intelligence, UK Trade & Investment can help you crack foreign markets and quickly get to grips with regulations and business. .