Round table event emphasises opportunities for exporters
WE didn't think we'd be dealing with Israel a few years ago, but we broke into that.
These are the comments of Avon Metals CEO Steven Munnoch, who was one of a nine-strong panel at a special export round table event at The Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo's Cheltenham headquarters last week.
He said attending overseas trade exhibitions had been vital for his business in expanding abroad, including Israel, and on summing up, his best advice to Gloucestershire companies wanting to explore international markets was to "get on a plane" and to do the same.
The metals recycling, manufacturing and trading operation, which has two sites in Gloucester, is now exporting to countries worldwide including America, Australia, the Middle East and China and exports have grown from £10million to £30million a year, over the past few years.
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David Stevens, managing director at Cheltenham-based Paragon laundry services, said it was important for businesses to get their overseas partners right.
His firm offers high quality laundry to the services industry, including hotels. It now exports to the Middle East, starting in Lebanon and later Qatar, among other countries there.
"We do laundry really well," he said.
"We have to go into emerging markets where they don't do it as well."
Sandra Warne, UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) international trade advisor, said the UKTI was also there to help businesses who want to sell a service overseas and not just a product.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has appointed Gloucester MP Richard Graham as trade envoy to Indonesia.
Suzanne Hall-Gibbins, Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said there was a UKTI checklist for firms wanting to export and that she was "delighted" by Mr Graham's appointment.
The Business and its sister publications Agenda and www.southwestbusiness.co.uk are running a special Export Month throughout November. It is linked to UKTI's Export Week, which took place last week and was part of a campaign to increase the number of British exporters by roughly a quarter. It is thought about £36billion could be added to the UK economy this way. During Export Month, The Business will focus on export stories and updates in the county and provide advice on getting into overseas markets.