Adam Wilkinson Tech-Set
A Gateshead family firm that specialises in designing, illustrating and producing textbooks for the education sector is exporting to North America and beyond, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).
As syllabuses tend to be revised regularly, Tech-Set decided to explore export opportunities as a way to combat the peaks and troughs in its workflow.
Tech-Set produces textbooks in all subjects from primary and GCSE-equivalent up to degree level, working with the biggest publishers in the industry, including Pearson Education and the Cambridge and Oxford University Presses.
Adam Wilkinson, senior design manager, leads the firm’s new business development. He said: “Everything in our business is digital. We send our work to publishers electronically, so there are very few barriers to us working with someone on the other side of the world.
“After seeing another graphic design business in the region talking about their export success on LinkedIn, I decided to see what exporting could do for us. I’d always thought of exporting as being manufacturers selling their products overseas, but it includes any sort of service you can provide abroad.
“I contacted our local Chamber of Commerce and they put me in touch with John Doolan, an international trade adviser at DIT, who came to see us.”
Tech-Set now works with the Canadian firm ‘Maths - No Problem!’, which also has UK offices in Tunbridge Wells, and is set to work on a series of books for the publisher.
Within the next year, Tyne and Wear-based Tech-Set hopes to create two new jobs, increase production turnover by 12.5% and have two new big clients on board.
Adam continued: “We’re just at the start of our relationship with ‘Maths - No Problem!’ but it has good prospects and has helped change our outlook about the difficulties of exporting.
“DIT has provided contacts that we would never have been able to access ourselves and we are now exploring opportunities in English-speaking markets around the world. We have got to look for new revenues and there is no reason why we can’t work with customers anywhere.”
David Coppock, DIT North East regional director, said: “Modern technology has made it far easier for Tech-Set to export its expertise around the world.
“At DIT we are working to help firms across the North East understand their export potential. We can help with introductions to potential customers and partners around the world, provide useful market intelligence, and address common barriers such as tax and logistics.
“We also have an experienced team of international trade advisers on the ground across the region who can sit down with you to help navigate the entire exporting process, from start to finish. The support is out there, and if firms like Tech-Set can find success overseas, there’s no reason others can’t too.”
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.
Founded in 1979, Tech-Set has remained a family-run business. Now employing 16 staff locally, it has a turnover of over £750,000.
PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards, in association with HSBC and the Department for International Trade, seeks to recognise the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.
For more info visit www.northernexportawards.co.uk.
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