Mark Robson of DIT Yorkshire

Mark Robson of DIT Yorkshire

Healthcare firms head to the Gulf

A 42-strong delegation of the region’s healthcare businesses are attending a major Northern Powerhouse trade mission to the Arab Health healthcare exhibition in Dubai in a bid to boost exports.

The global trade event runs from 30 January to 2 February 2017 and is the largest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region with more than 4,400 healthcare companies attending from 70-plus countries.

Organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Sheffield-based Medilink, the representative body for the UK life science and healthcare technology sector and DIT partner, the mission has attracted 62 businesses from the Northern Powerhouse region including the 42 from Yorkshire and the Humber such as Royston Lead Ltd of Barnsley and Bradford-based Sunflower Medical.

Mark Robson, DIT regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Whilst we can’t underestimate the growing importance of global trade conducted online, most is still undertaken by meeting people face-to-face and getting to know customers and their requirements via the personal touch.

“That’s why it’s so important and potentially beneficial for first-time and established exporters to join DIT trade missions such as that to Arab Health.”

Tom Elliott, international manager, Medilink and life sciences regional sector specialist for DIT Yorkshire and the Humber, added: “The DIT recognised the extensive opportunities that companies can access at exhibitions such as Arab Health. 

"This Northern Powerhouse mission gives organisations within our region the opportunity to access foreign markets whilst being supported by industry experts and specialists.”

Established in 1926, Royston Lead Ltd is a global specialist in the manufacture and distribution of lead products for industries including nuclear, medical, subsea, defence, petrochemical and mining.

The business with specialist staff at Pogmoor Works, Stocks Lane, Barnsley currently exports to South America, its biggest market, mainland Europe, South Africa and Russia but is now looking to further expand in the Middle East, the world’s largest healthcare market.

A member of the specialist products specification team at Royston Lead, is attending Arab Health on a fact-finding mission to establish a network of contacts for potential future orders.

Managing director, Ian Crabbe explained: “We have been exporting for the past 25 years and see the supply of lead for radiographic and radiation shielding, the lining of facilities and enclosures to the UAE medical sector as a huge opportunity going forward.”

Meanwhile, Sunflower Medical, a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of bespoke medical furniture with 45 staff at Roydsdale Way, Euroway Trading Estate, Bradford, will be represented at Arab Health by sales director Stuart Anderson and export manager Carron Wood.

The firm established in 2003 is attending the annual exhibition for the seventh time and has exported to the Middle East and Arab world – now it’s largest export market - for a similar period with a wide range of its products being displayed on its stand this year.

Carron said: “We have enjoyed consistent year-on-year growth in both domestic and export markets in the past 14 years and are looking to increase export sales which represent some six per cent of our annual turnover.

“Having become a regular and longstanding exhibitor at Arab Health we recognise the important role it plays in introducing Sunflower Medical and its market-leading products to existing and potential customers.”

Other Yorkshire and the Humber businesses at Arab Health include Wetherby-based Curepharma, Bioclad Ltd and Clinicept Healthcare from Harrogate, BR Pharmaceuticals, Optimum Medical and Brandon Medical Co of Leeds, Huddersfield-based firms Paxman Coolers and Innovate Orthopaedics and Granton Medical and Bolton Surgical of Sheffield.

With a gross domestic product (GDP) of almost £350bn and exports valued at £60bn, the Northern Powerhouse region spanning the cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle has more than 1,000 life science and healthcare businesses contributing in excess of £10.8bn to the UK economy each year.