A golden chance awaits

A golden chance awaits

A trio of North East companies are poised to launch export drives in the Middle East, after winning a competition to go to Dubai and drum up business.

More than 25 companies across the region entered the competition, organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and the Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai in a bid to secure a “Golden Ticket” to take part in a market visit to Dubai in December.

The three winning companies were Furniture Clinic, Nortech Solutions Group and Tomlinson Hall & Co.

Furniture Clinic, based in Burnopfield, County Durham is a market leader in the development and manufacture of leather repair and care products used by several industrial sectors including furniture, automotive, clothing, handbags, and equestrian.

The company also offers training courses to the public and trade and new products have been added to cover other items such as fabric and wood. The company already exports to several overseas markets including the US, Russia and Hong Kong. Its exports amount to more than £250,000.

The company, which launched in 2005, has an annual turnover of £2.2m, up from £1.7m last year, and more than 60 employees in 11 branches across the UK since launching in 2005.

It is currently in negotiations with Durham County Council over the acquisition of a 3.5 acre site over the road from his current site, where it want to build a 30,000sq ft factory to be operational by Spring 2015. Its five-year plan, which includes the new factory, involves the creation of 56 jobs.

Founder and owner Ben Staerck says “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen for this prize, giving Furniture Clinic the opportunity to develop our business in Dubai and the Middle East region. This award allows us to progress business relations in this area quicker than we would normally have been planning to do.

“Initially, we would look to develop trade customers who would use our products and benefit from our training, and then eventually appoint a distributor for all Furniture Clinic products in Dubai and the region.”

Last year it opened a store in New York.

Staerck says: “It’s going well. It has been open a year and it has hit its targets and is progressing well.’

Nortech Solutions Group of Wynyard is an award winning engineering design, project management, procurement and construction management services provider for a range of industry sectors. The Nortech group of companies is made up of three businesses: Nortech Solutions, Nortech Oil & Gas and Nortech Staffing Solutions. Since its launch in April 2011 with just four employees, Nortech has enjoyed rapid growth and created more than 80 jobs.

It had a turnover of £1.1m in its first year and by its second year end on March 2013, this was up to around £8.2m and is now approaching £10m.

Founder and managing director Bryan Bunn says: “We’re delighted to have been selected to join UKTI on this exciting market visit to Dubai. It is a great honour to have been selected and the visit will be an excellent opportunity to discover the many opportunities in the Dubai marketplace as well as further enhance our knowledge of other emerging markets, and showcase Nortech’s expertise.

“We have experienced phenomenal growth since we set up in April 2011. We are very proud of our achievements and are looking forward to further building on our reputation in the burgeoning Dubai market.”

Tomlinson Hall & Co of Billingham was established in 1919. The company is now a major pump distributor and manufacturer, serving both UK and overseas markets.

It manufactures the Liquivac pump, which it successfully exports to countries including China, Argentina, the USA and Canada. The pump features an innovative liquid ring vacuum design and is used in chemical processing, aquaculture, sea water extraction, land remediation and food and drink processing, and in the utilities sector.

Tomlinson Hall & Co is the current British Pump Manufacturers’ Association Pump Distributor of the Year, having been awarded the title at the association’s Pump Industry Awards 2014. The company also won this award in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Colin Simpson, business development director of Tomlinson Hall & Co, says: “We’re delighted to be one of the ‘Golden Ticket’ winners and to be making the trip to Dubai. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Tomlinson Hall & Co. 

“Dubai is a key target market for the company and our Liquivac pump can be utilised within numerous industry sectors in the UAE. We’re looking forward to promoting North East manufacturing overseas and to working with UKTI and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Chris Simpson, a UKTI lead International trade adviser says: “The amount of interest this competition has generated here in the North East has been fantastic and I must give a great deal of thanks to Fayha Sultan at the Dubai tourism team and the Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai for supporting this initiative.

“It has shown, once again, the amazing companies that the North East has to offer, as the judging process was by no means an easy task. To the three winners, I would like to say a massive well done and I am sure the experience and opportunities will be game changing.

“I look forward to working with them and accompanying them on the visit to Dubai. Many of the region’s companies are already successfully exporting to Dubai and other markets around the globe, and UKTI is committed to helping more companies join the global race and we hope our winners’ success will inspire more to take up the export for growth challenge.”

Fayha Sultan, marketing manager – commerce at Dubai’s DTCM, says: “I would like to congratulate the winners and look forward to meeting them on the trip. It was a very difficult decision to make as all the entries were of a high calibre and their products have great potential in Dubai.

“I will be working closely with Chris Simpson to ensure that the group gets the most out of the visit on the professional and leisure side. The companies are already trading with Dubai and this visit will expand their knowledge of Dubai as a regional base for the rest of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.”

Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai general manager Daniel Mathew says: “We are proud to be a part of the initiative alongside UKTI and Dubai Tourism to boost exports from the North East and look forward to welcoming the competition winners to the Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai.”

The prize for each company includes return flights between Newcastle and Dubai, five nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast and up to £2,000 towards market research through UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

The winners will also be able to benefit from the services of a UKTI international trade adviser both before and during the visit, will take part in a reception at the British Embassy in Dubai and have a series of meetings arranged for them during the visit through Dubai’s DTCM and UKTI’s commercial team in Dubai.