By Daniel Hunter

North East companies which have never sold their goods and services outside of the UK are benefiting from a new initiative launched by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to introduce novice exporters to the European marketplace.

Export Insight Visits were launched by UKTI last year as a way of testing the marketplace without a big financial commitment. The £99 introductory visits to Europe include advice and support from UKTI to help companies make the most of the time there.

Last month (March), a delegation of 20 firms joined members of UKTI’s North East team for a three-day visit to Stockholm in Sweden.

They met representatives from Business Sweden and a range of Swedish companies who have showed an interest in working with firms from the UK. The North East firms were also able to take advantage of a networking event held at the Ambassador’s Residence.

Daniel Nutley, UKTI Senior Trade and Investment Adviser, who is based at the British Embassy in Stockholm, said: “We were really happy with the successful outcome of the UKTI Export Insight visit to Sweden. Delegates from a diverse range of sectors were briefed on the market, informed about opportunities relevant to their business and started to build relationships with business contacts straightaway.

“Delegates have responded very positively to the benefits gained from the visit and we would love to host another Export Insight Visit to Sweden in the future.”

Among the delegates was Martin Kay, Managing Director, of Prudhoe-based Bespoke Concrete, which specialises in manufacturing custom made pre-cast concrete and cast stone products.

He said: “We haven’t exported our products before but after visiting Sweden and seeing the amount of construction work going on there, I think it is a place where our products will easily fit in. The visit was a very positive experience and UKTI way over-exceeded what I thought they could offer us in terms of their efficiency, professionalism and service. As a result we’re going to sign up for the Passport to Export service.

“I would encourage other North East companies who haven’t exported before to have a look and see what UKTI can offer them because I was very pleasantly surprised at how good the visit to Sweden was.”

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

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