Bob Welch, VP international sales, HITEK Electronic Materials, at a trade show in Singapore
Scunthorpe-based company, HITEK Electronic Materials, is set to expand its business into Singapore and the UAE, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Founded in 1985, the business designs and manufactures solutions to protect sensitive electronic equipment from electromagnetic fields, corrosion and weathering. Its clients include businesses in the medical sector, as well as aerospace and defence.
The firm currently exports to South Africa, France, Italy, Germany, and Sweden.
Earlier this year, DIT supported HITEK in attending a major pan-Asian trade show in Singapore, helping the business book exhibition space and transport samples of its products for display. As a result, HITEK has secured a four-figure order from a Singaporean buyer and has returned from additional meetings in Singapore to explore further export deals.
In addition to this success, the company has also been working closely with DIT trade advisers on the ground in Yorkshire and the Humber to explore new export opportunities in the Middle East.
With DIT’s support, HITEK has established a relationship with the UAE’s British Centres for Business, a consultancy that works closely with the UK Government and the UAE Government to support British businesses interested in exporting to the UAE. HITEK has access to full-time staff at the British Centres for Business in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to help identify and develop export opportunities across the UAE.
As a result of its export activity, the business has hired three new staff since 2016, accounting for 10% of the firm’s current workforce.
Jim Lawton, managing director, HITEK Electronic Materials, said: “Although we had relationships with partners overseas that stretched back to the early 2000s, we didn’t seriously begin considering how we could export until 2012.
“We knew that exporting could boost our profitability and resilience, but we still had questions on how best to go about it. After attending one of DIT’s ‘Export for Growth’ workshops we were introduced to the various support packages available to firms like ours. We took a lot from these workshops, including learning about international logistics and how to access export funding.
“Throughout our exporting journey, we quickly discovered that people all around the world really appreciate you travelling to meet them face-to-face. Being able to set-up and attend meetings like this has been invaluable and wouldn’t have happened without the support of DIT.
“In addition to financial support, having access to a trade adviser who knows an overseas market and details like local business customs and tax requirements is a real benefit. The support is out there, and if a company like ours from Scunthorpe can find export success, many others can too.”
Mark Robson, head of UK regions, Yorkshire & the Humber, Department for International Trade, said: “HITEK Electronics is a great example of a local business that has made the most of the wealth of support available for British firms looking to find success trading overseas. There is currently a huge demand for British products abroad, with exports from Yorkshire and the Humber totalling £4.4bn in the first quarter of 2018 alone.
“However, we know that exporting is not without its challenges. To help firms navigate the process, we offer a range of workshops and regular trade missions, as well as access to a network of international trade advisers based on the ground across Yorkshire and the Humber. This support is open to companies of all sizes and exporting ambitions, and I’d urge anyone interested to get in touch.”
Michelle Ovens MBE, director of Small Business Saturday, said: “Across the UK, small businesses have provided their expertise and services to their own communities for generations. It is therefore great to see these local heroes looking overseas as another exciting route to consider. Businesses should not be restricted by size; small companies can trade overseas and offer as innovative ranges on their online platforms as the biggest corporations.
“This year’s Small Business Saturday falls on 1 December, with a whole range of small businesses – many of whom are already trailblazers in exporting their products abroad – hosting events and promotions to encourage people to shop local and support businesses in their communities. The UK’s 5.6 million small businesses are the heart of the UK economy, so having a day to showcase their contributions both at home and abroad is well deserved.”
Firms looking for support should call 0300 365 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has information on live export opportunities and includes general information on exporting and events.
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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