Ian Harrison, Director of Exports at Department for International Trade (DIT) in the Midlands, lays out the overseas potential for healthcare businesses.
The ongoing success of the ‘Midlands Engine’ can be seen on a daily basis in the global success of our healthcare sector.
The region’s healthcare sector has already firmly established itself and is growing through the active support of life science incubators, like Medilink East Midlands. What’s more, we’re already home to more than 1,000 life sciences companies.
The national picture speaks volumes about the demand for British goods and services in this sector. UK health companies exported £1.7 billion worth of goods and services in 2016. The Midlands is also home to a cluster of pioneering firms in the media technology sector.1
Currently, North America and the EU account for around 40% of all UK healthcare exports with the Middle East, China, India and South-East Asia accounting for 25%. Opportunities continue to increase for Midlands-based companies in these markets and many others.
Our Gulf Region Life Sciences Meet the Buyer event, hosted in Coventry in March, showcased the international appetite for Midlands healthcare expertise, goods and services. The event brought 18 buyers from the Middle East to meet with more than 60 Midlands-based healthcare and life sciences companies.
Some of the biggest healthcare brands from the UAE, Oman and Kuwait attended, including Pharmalink, the leader in global healthcare regulatory affairs; Dubai’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, a regulator and supervisor of the healthcare sector; and Gulf Drug, supplier of healthcare products for clinics, pharmacies and hospitals in the Middle East and North Africa region.
There are also many opportunities for Midlands businesses to reach overseas buyers by making the journey to the Middle East. We supported 34 Midlands-based businesses to do exactly that earlier this year, when they attended the second largest medical tradeshow in the world, Arab Health. As a result, SP Services, a Telford-based medical equipment supplier, secured a large new contract from the Middle East. The event also offered the opportunity for companies to speak with like-minded business owners from the sector who have already gone or are going through the exporting journey.
The DIT predicts that British healthcare companies will win contracts worth up to £7 billion over the next decade, which is evidence of what can be achieved with the right kind of support.
Whether it’s forming international relationships through trade events and meet the buyer events, or workshops and one-to-one advice sessions, our Midlands advisers are available to support the region’s businesses to take full advantage of international demand for the region’s healthcare exports.
Companies can find information and a current list of opportunities through visiting Great.gov.uk.
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