Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Taking part in overseas exhibitions is an effective way for businesses to test markets, attract customers, appoint agents or distributors and make sales. UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant support for eligible SME firms to attend trade shows overseas.
Companies accessing the programme usually go as part of a group, a great advantage for inexperienced businesses, and this is often led by an Accredited Trade Association (ATO). The visit was led by one of UKTI’s leading partners in the creative sector, Lincoln based Design Factory, who work with designer/makers from across the region to help them achieve their ambitions.
“UKTI have been working with Design Factory and other creative agencies in the region to create international opportunities for our UK designers,” explains Christine. “Our designers’ success at ‘Maison’ is testament to the strength of the partnerships both locally and internationally”
Two designer/makers who have exhibited in Paris with UKTI support are Jeanne Roberts and Stuart Akroyd. Jeanne, whose fine art wall hangings have attracted a lot of international interest, creates unique handmade textiles using a combination of digital printing and ancient felting techniques. Stuart is an award winning contemporary glassmaker whose skilful designs and vibrant use of colour have gained him an international reputation and high profile clients. Based in Nottingham, they both started exporting 3 years ago following a UKTI led research visit to the ‘Maison’ exhibition.
“Going it alone at a major exhibition is intimidating, particularly if it’s your first time,” says Jeanne. “It’s very difficult to turn up at a trade show like ‘Maison’ without knowing what it’s going to be like – it’s the size of a small town. Going as a group made all the difference” The return on investment can be slow when developing overseas business. Having UKTI support to exhibit allows companies the time to develop contacts without the pressure for an immediate return. During the first research trip 3 years ago Christine brokered a connection between Design Factory and L’Atelier d’Art de France, the French equivalent of the Crafts Council. Over the years this relationship has developed and brought significant advantages for Design Factory members across the region.
Thomas explains: “Using an OMIS allows companies to access the services of our trade teams based in Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates around the world. In the case of ILS
English, the teams were able to identify warmed-up leads in specified sectors, generate appointments and give full support to Pam during her visits.”
In Mexico, there was a briefing and reception at the Embassy. The UKTI team also arranged a series of appointments with training departments of companies and major universities.
Pam said: “The team from the Embassy was first class. They really knew their stuff and held my hand from the moment I arrived in Mexico City - even accompanying me to meetings. I made some really good contacts amongst the delegates and some have since become partners and customers.”
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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. .