By Daniel Hunter

Having spent the past 27 years honing their skills helping emergency services to plan resources in the UK, a specialist Reading firm has secured a contract to apply this knowledge to services in Canada.

ORH Limited, who employ 17 specialist staff in Queen Victoria Street, won a contract in Ontario leading to over £100,000 of income, with help from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

It is overseas contracts like this which continue to secure the firm’s future.

Mike Vicary, Managing Director said: “We began exporting ten years ago, winning pieces of work in Australia. After speaking to UKTI South East we decided that Canada would be another good market to target as they have similar emergency services to England.

“I can look back now and realise that we may not have survived, and certainly would not have grown, without exporting. Our current turnover and staffing is about double that of ten years ago, before we started exporting. The overseas orders have been essential to our business and being successful in the Canadian market is a big step forward for us.

“Since winning an initial tender in York Region, Ontario in 2011, the business has continued to grow and we have since won work for the police force in the same region. Next we’re aiming to promote our services to fire departments. If we can get contracts with all three emergency services signed up in Ontario it will hopefully help us to take the next steps to pursue other contract opportunities in Canada.”

ORH has taken full advantage of UKTI support in the last few years, benefitting from the Passport to Export scheme, Solo funding (to support exhibiting at overseas conferences), the EMRS scheme and attending an export workshop.

Mike added: “UKTI helped us set up meetings with relevant companies, and their representative in Canada was on hand to offer us advice. Here in the South East our locally-based adviser Mitzi Swanson has really helped us become more focused and kept us on track. She pushed us into starting an export plan and made sure we stayed on target with it.

“Exporting ensures you don’t put all your eggs in one basket; while the UK currently struggles in recession, many other countries are expanding and putting money into their services.”

Mitzi Swanson, International Trade Adviser from UKTI South East said: “Exporting has really been a positive experience for this company. Research continually shows that firms that export are more innovative than firms that don’t and exporting has helped them develop and tailor their offer. We will now be helping them to secure further contracts overseas and looking for other opportunities they can tap into.”

'Open to Export' is a UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) initiative in partnership with hibu plc (formerly Yell Group).

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