Birmingham-based Active Hands has been supplying its gripping aids to Paralympic athletes at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Active Hands designs and develops gripping aids for people with hand function disabilities, enabling them to tightly hold onto objects.
This makes the firm’s gripping aids ideal for athletes competing in sports such as curling and sit-ski competitions.
It was established in 2008 by Director Rob Smith who created the product after a spinal cord injury left him with partial paralysis.
Since originally developing the product for his own use, he’s seen widespread UK interest as well as demand from more than 50 countries overseas.
This includes North America, where half of all the firm’s sales come from, as well as Asia and Australia.
The business posted a turnover of £250k since in the last year, achieving 25% growth.
The specialist product has been used in a number of high-profile recent sporting events, including last year’s Paralympic Summer Games and the World Para Athletics Championships.
Rob said: “Exporting was a natural next step for Active Hands due to high demand overseas and was always part of our growth plans.
“With such a specialist product, exporting has helped us develop a greater customer base to grow the business.
“The DIT played a really important role in helping develop our website, which is crucial for driving our sales overseas. They offered advice on translation, SEO and optimising the website for mobile use.
“Although we’ve faced certain difficulties particularly around varying legislation in different countries, we’ve been able to navigate these with the support of DIT. I’d encourage other businesses who are thinking about exporting to get in touch and make use of DIT’s support.”
The Department for International Trade (DIT)’s Exporting is GREAT campaign aims to help more businesses explore new markets overseas.
The campaign is currently showcasing 30+ UK businesses – encompassing every sector and region – to inspire and support firms up and down the country to export.
Active Hands has been working closely with DIT to increase their international growth and last month Rob attended the Arab Health Conference in Dubai with DIT’s support.
The event is the world’s second-largest medical trade show with more than 100,000 professionals and exhibitors attending from more than 160 countries.
There he received one-to-one advice from representatives and trade advisers from DIT and was introduced to international buyers in the healthcare and life sciences sectors.
Ian Harrison, director of exports, at Department for International Trade in the Midlands, commented: “Rob has a great product that makes a difference to the lives of people all over the world, so we’re pleased to be able to support him in his exporting journey.
“Our advisers in the Midlands provide a wealth of support, from website development to relationship building with buyers overseas, to helping businesses like Active Hands make the most of the international demand for innovative UK products.”
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