The Sheffield City Region Doing Business in China Survey

You may have seen in the news that Sheffield Chamber, in partnership with New Era Development, University of Sheffield and Creative Sheffield have announced plans to develop the Chinese “Gateway to the North”.

This is an exciting development building on existing and recently announced investments between Sheffield and China and we intend to use it to grow trade, maximise investments and increase student numbers.

Doing this survey will help us get some simple but useful data as we develop the final proposal.

To participate in the survey please click here

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Live Indian export opportunities for UK businesses

The UK India Business Council has launched an Indian export opportunities feed on their website.

In collaboration with the UK Government, these real-time export opportunities cover a range of sectors, from food and drink to education. Below are a selection of the latest openings:

  • Company seeks distributorship for automation systems and special purpose machines
  • Leading food trading company is looking to import food products
  • Management institute seeking a partnership with a UK business school
  • Medical equipment company interested in import of nanotechnology equipment

For further information on those and other opportunties in a variety of sectors please click here

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UK defence export promotion inquiry

Source:, 21st July

The Committees on Arms Export Controls have launched an inquiry into UK defence export promotion. The inquiry will examine the role the government plays in promoting the UK defence industry abroad and consider the impact this has on fulfilling the nation’s international obligations.

The inquiry also examines the effectiveness of the Defence Growth Partnership. The partnership between the government and the defence industry aims to increase the UK’s global market share of defence exports and build greater collaboration across the sector.

Terms of reference

Written submissions are invited on the following questions:

  • How important are UK defence exports to the economy?
  • What role should HM Government play in promoting UK defence exports?
  • How effective is the Defence Growth Partnership in supporting UK defence exports?
  • Is the UK fulfilling its international obligations with regard to defence exports?
  • What more could the UK do to promote responsible defence exports?

Deadline for submissions

The deadline for written submissions is 31 August 2016.

Further info here

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Starved FCO urgently needs resources for Brexit challenge and opportunities

Source:, 20th July 2016

The Government must commit to a substantial increase in funding and personnel for the FCO, as the department’s role evolves to meet the challenges and opportunities in leaving the EU.

The Committee says the previous Government’s negligence in failing to conduct contingency planning for Brexit has exacerbated post-referendum uncertainty both within the UK and amongst key international partners, and made the task now facing the new Government substantially more difficult.

For this reason, the Committee urges the new Prime Minister to strengthen the FCO. As FCO officials move to other Whitehall departments to assist with the EU exit process, the Prime Minister should ensure the FCO has the resources to fill any gaps in capacity.

Chair’s comment

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, said:

“The UK needs to give clear signals to our allies across the world that Britain is determined to assert our place in the world post Brexit. This is not just about trade in the EU or with the rest of the world – although that represents a significant challenge.

This is also about the UK’s international reputation. We want to see the FCO working effectively with the new Department for International Trade and the Department for Exiting the European Union. Our security, prosperity, values and democracy will depend on the strength of these key departments and their working relationships.

The Brexit challenge requires a fully staffed and resourced FCO. A commitment to scaling up resources and personnel would give a clear signal to allies of our priorities.”

20 July 2016

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Sheffield Secures Massive Chinese Investments

Source: Laurence Kilgannon, Insider Media, 21st July 2016

Sheffield has secured a Chinese investment deal worth more than £1bn, the biggest by a UK city outside of London, in a move which will initially fund four or five city centre projects over the next three years and has the potential to create hundreds of jobs.

A 60-year partnership has been agreed with Sichuan Guodong Construction Group, one of the largest companies in Sichuan Province.

The first tranche of funding associated with this agreement is worth in the region of £220m and will fund four or five Sheffield city centre projects over the next three years. The exact projects that the investment will fund are yet to be determined.

Councillor Julie Dore (above, right), leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “This is the biggest Chinese investment deal to be made by a UK city outside of London.

“And perhaps more importantly it is first deal of its kind to be made by a UK city. This is a real partnership.

“The projects funded by this investment will be determined by Sheffield City Council, and the 60-year commitment secures a stream of investment into our city for the next generation, and means a whole range of projects become viable because of the long-term nature of the relationship.”

Councillor Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, added: “We are clear that this will create hundreds, if not thousands, of additional jobs for the people of Sheffield. The investment comes from China, but the workforce on these projects will be British.”

The deal between Sheffield City Council and Sichuan Guodong Construction Group has been over 18 months in the making.

Mr Wang (above, left), chairman of the board and president of Sichuan Guodong Construction Group, has visited Sheffield a number of times.

Wang said: “This agreement illustrates our confidence in Sheffield as a city going from strength to strength, with real growth potential. We are looking forward to being a part of this over the coming decades.”

Chengdu is a city of 16 million people, the fifth largest in China, and largest in Sichuan Province in western China. The work agreement with Sichuan Guodong Construction Group is running parallel to increasing civic and cultural ties between Sheffield and the city of Chengdu.

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Farnborough International Airshow – Set for Success


  • Over 98% of inside and outside exhibition space sold
  • 71%  International Participation
  • 22 international pavilions
  • Over 30% of direct exhibitors are new to FIA
  • 50% growth in commercial and civil delegation programme

Wednesday 22 June, 2016: Farnborough International announced new statistics today that indicate next month’s Farnborough International Airshow will exceed target and industry expectations.

The biennial showcase for the world of aviation takes place on 11th – 17th July 2016 is not

only expected to repeat the success of FIA14, but also reach new markets and territories. This is underpinned by an increase in international participation and for the first time Austria, Brazil, Republic of Ireland and South Korea all have dedicated country pavilions, bringing the international pavilions to 22.

China also has its first dedicated pavilion representing a 103% increase in footprint and a 98% increase in spend compared to the 2014 show. German participation has also doubled since 2014.

The show has increased its exhibition space footprint in 2016 from previous years and is over 98% sold out. Chalet space is exceeding expectation and there will be some fantastic new looks for Embraer, GE and SAAB to name but a few. Lockheed Martin will unveil their new permanent structure and there will be strong presence from the F-35 team. General Dynamics also make a welcome return to the Show.

Other exciting new additions for 2016 include a special Boeing pavilion celebrating their centenary which falls on the Friday of the show.

New exhibitor for 2016, Volga-Dnepr will joining the show by demonstrating their cargo handling capabilities in a dedicated Cargo Village.

The Civil and Commercial delegations programmes are exceeding expectations with 26 representative groups already confirmed from key and emerging markets.  The Military delegations programme will see a high level presence from over 45 countries.

Farnborough International Commercial Director, Amanda Stainer said: “Our latest stats highlight that 2016 Farnborough International Airshow will be another fantastic show. I am looking forward to welcoming our new participants and delegations both international and those from closer to home. The new look chalets and new country pavilions go further to prove that FIA16 is the meeting place for the aerospace industry both for the defence and commercial sectors.”

Amanda went on to say “As well as the F-35 joint fighter strike, we are expecting more aircraft to debut at Farnborough this year. In fact we have more aircraft exhibiting than in recent shows, reflecting an up-beat mood in the industry.”

“In 2016 due to demand we have also significantly grown our first time exhibiter space and have a new dedicated SME lounge. Our meet the buyer programme has also extended by a day, which has been very received”

More details on the show can be found here.

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Business Secretary to launch preliminary trade talks with India

Source: BIS, 8th July 2016

Business Secretary Sajid Javid to start preliminary trade talks with India during a series of discussions in Delhi.

  • Business Secretary Sajid Javid will be in Delhi today (8 July 2016) where he will launch initial discussions on the UK’s future trade relationship with India
  • first in a series of visits to key trade partners the Business Secretary is expected to undertake across the globe
  • Business Secretary also confirms government will rapidly build its expertise on trade, with up to 300 specialist staff to be in place by year end

Business Secretary Sajid Javid will kick-off preliminary trade talks with India later today (8 July 2016) when he meets the Indian Finance and Commerce Ministers during a series of discussions in Delhi.

The Business Secretary will use meetings with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to outline his vision for what a future trade relationship between the UK and India might look like outside the EU.

It is the first in a series of trade meetings the Business Secretary will conduct over the coming months, which also is expected to include trips to the USA, China, Japan and South Korea.

The Business Secretary has also confirmed that to aid in discussions, the government plans to rapidly build its trade capability – up to 300 specialist staff, including new trade negotiators – by the end of the year.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Following the referendum result, my absolute priority is making sure theUK has the tools it needs to continue to compete on the global stage.

That is why I am in India today to launch these initial trade discussions. There is a strong bilateral trade relationship between our 2 countries and I am determined that we build on this.

Over the coming months, I will be conducting similar meetings with other key trade partners, outlining the government’s vision for what the UK’s future trade relationship might look like.

As part of the discussions, the Business Secretary is expected to make clear that he would like the UK and India to have a trade agreement in place as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.

The Business Secretary has also been speaking to British diplomats this week, urging them to utilise their expertise and meet with their governments and local investors to make clear the UK remains an open and viable trade partner.

Speaking at the FCO Leadership Conference on Tuesday (5 July 2016), the Business Secretary urged diplomats to make it known to their countries’ governments that the UK was looking to expand its options for trade deals.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Price has been in Hong Kong and China this week, attending the G20 trade ministers meeting in Shanghai and meeting key government and business representatives. This is part of the government’s engagement with key trade partners, reinforcing the UK’s ongoing commitment to maintaining and strengthening the economic relationship between the countries.

Alongside visiting Delhi, the Business Secretary will also be in Mumbai where he will meet senior Tata Group board members to discuss the ongoing sale of their UK steelmaking assets.

Notes to editors:

  1. India and the UK have always had traditionally close trade ties: the UK is the largest G20 investor in India, while India invests more in the UK than the rest of the European Union combined. India has also emerged as the third largest source of FDI for the UK.
  2. Last year, bilateral trade in goods and services between the 2 countries was £16.55 billion (in goods was £11.43 billion while trade in services was £5.11 billion)
  3. According to the government of India data, the UK is the third largest investor in India for the period April 2000 to September 2015, with cumulative inflows of $22.5 billion.
  4. In 2014 to 2015, the UK won a record number of investment projects and is India’s top investment destination in Europe. India is also Britain’s third biggest job creator in 2014, with a 65% increase in FDI.
  5. A new industry report by CII and Grant Thornton tracking Indian companies based in the UK has revealed that many of them are boosting growth rates in the country, registering a combined increase in revenue of £4 billion: from £22 billion in 2014 to £26 billion in 2015.
  6. According to London and Partners in 2015 Indians also become the second biggest job creators in London. Indian companies created 504 new jobs this year in London alone – second only to the Americans who created 1983 jobs.
  7. In 2014 to 2015 Indian investments in 122 FDI projects created 7,730 new jobs and safeguarded 1,620 jobs in UK.
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Sheffield looks to China for Investment

Sheffield is to forge closer links with China in a bid to create jobs and encourage long-term economic security.

Council leader Julie Dore and deputy leader Leigh Bramall are currently in China with a trade delegation speaking to businesses about potential investments in the city.

Mr Wang, Chairman of the Board and President of Sichuan Guodong Construction Co, with Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council deputy leader, in October

It follows an announcement in October that the council had agreed in principle a major deal with a giant Chinese construction firm to fund future investment in Sheffield.

Council chief executive John Mothersole said today that despite the ‘unprecedented’ changes that will come from leaving the EU, ‘momentum is good’ in terms of building Sheffield’s relationship with Chinese firms.

A delegation including council leader Julie Dore and deputy leader Leigh Bramall is currently in Asia hoping to negotiate a series of deals that will secure jobs and investment in Sheffield.

Council bosses told The Star today that despite the economic uncertainty being caused by Britain leaving the EU, they are confident ‘strong’ relationships with Chinese firms will continue to be developed.

The group arrived in Asia last week, but the discussions are now being seen as even more vital following the referendum result.

John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield Council, said: “The referendum decision is a long term change and is unprecedented.

“We will clearly keep an eye on all our positions that may be affected, but as far as China is concerned we carry on. Our relationships are strong and the momentum is good.”

Coun Bramall added: “We believe that on balance it was preferential to remain in the EU, but this is a complex issue, as the referendum result reflected.

“We need time to work out the impact on Sheffield so we can ensure we continue to be a successful city outside of the EU.

“Sheffield is increasingly focused on maximising opportunities through key international partners including China.

“That’s why we are out here at the moment, negotiating vital investment opportunities and jobs for Sheffield.”

The council trade delegation has been in Sheffield’s sister city of Chengdu and have been involved in discussions with local government and business leaders.

It follows an announcement in October that Sheffield Council had agreed an investment deal in principle with the Sichuan Guodong Construction Company.

The ‘long-term strategic alliance’ is yet to be finalised but is expected to involve the company, which is worth over £1bn, providing money for a number of investment projects in Sheffield and the wider South Yorkshire region. One project already under way in the city is the £65m ‘Chinatown’ development between St Mary’s Gate, Bramall Lane and Sheldon Street. Construction is well under way on the a 20-storey scheme featuring shops, food and drink outlets, student flats and office space that is funded by Chinese investors.

The student flats element is expected to be home to some of the 4,000 Chinese students who attend the University of Sheffield.

It comes as Sheffield plans to host a major business conference with Chinese business leaders next year.

A meeting of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority was told this week of plans to host the ‘internationally significant’ Horasis Business Conference in South Yorkshire in November 2017. A board paper said the event – which is being hosted in Switzerland this year – is the ‘foremost annual gathering of Chinese business leaders and their global counterparts.’

Around 300 people, including 150 senior Chinese businessmen, are expected to attend the conference.

The report stated: “As part of the planning process for the conference it will be important to consider how to create and maximise the legacy of hosting this event – in particular, how this can be used as a springboard for business development within the City Region.”

Richard Wright, the executive director of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said time will tell on how potential deals with Chinese companies are affected by the EU referendum.

“Dealing with China or even anyone else in the Far East is very important,” he said. “What happens to investment depends on the reason they are here. If they are using it as a springboard to Europe, there will obviously be areas of concern.”

But he said there will also be Chinese firms looking to invest in Sheffield for ‘specific knowledge or skills’.

“It will depend on what the investors are looking to us for,” he said.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said he hoped the council delegation’s efforts in China will be successful but warned that the economic uncertainty caused by the Leave vote may discourage investors.

He said: “The issue that is going to have to be resolved is how do other countries outside the EU view a UK which belongs outside the EU community?

“What they want is access to the EU markets. 
That will be a key issue for our negotiations with the EU. We have just got to try and convince people the UK is a good place to come and 

Source: Chris Burn, Sheffield Star, 27th June 2016


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Sheffield City Region Visit to IFB2016

IFB2016: The world’s biggest Business Festival

Discover opportunities for your business at IFB2016

What is IFB2016?

Three themed weeks, 13th – 1st July 2016 of business opportunities, over 75 events, with approximately 85 International delegations, 40 000 delegates, including 10 000 International visitors in one place at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool. Aimed at companies of all sizes; Start-ups, SMEs and Blue Chip companies alike.

Your opportunity to participate in a mini-trip to IFB2016

The International Trade Forum in partnership with the Sheffield City Region will be taking 3 groups to IFB2016 on the following dates:

  • 14th/15th June – Manufacturing Week, including Made in Britain – Loved by the World, Food & Drink, ASEAN Manufacturing, HSBC Trade Exchange (Asia, China and North America)
  • 21st/22nd June – Energy and Environment, including Oil & Gas, UK Automotive Supply Chain, UK Trade & Export Finance, UK ASEAN Energy & Environment Opportunities
  • 28th/29th June – Creative and Digital, including Gateway to the Asian Music Market, Financing Collaborative R&D, Innovate ASEAN

The aforementioned is just a selection of events taking place during those days, for a full schedule and further details of above events please visit IFB Events Schedule.

Why should you attend?

  • Join the IFB2016 Business Club to gain FREE access to the event and for the business match-making appointments
  • Cutting edge events, inspirational speakers, conferences, seminars and showcases
  • Meet the Experts
  • Meet your Future Deal: the world’s biggest ‘Meet the Buyer’ event
  • Meet your Specialist Advisor: free one-to-one appointments with leading industry experts, offering bespoke advice
  • Learn from the Best.

Funding Available for SMEs

Under the ‘Travel to Trade’ Programme, funding is available for SME businesses that meet the following eligible criteria and are visiting from outside of the Liverpool City Region.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be an SME
  • Must join the IFB Business Club
  • Export for the First Time
  • Expand to a New Market
  • Must attend at least one pre-booked event
  • Must attend at least one face-to-face appointment made via IFB2016 Business Club

For further information or to apply to participate in the ‘Travel to Trade’ activity, please reply by return email or contact Renate Halton, International Trade Forum, e:

Please raise awareness of this activity and share the information with companies who you think might have an interest in the visit and/or IFB2016

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Recognition as a female exporter in engineering: Success begins with just one step – Anne Wilson MBE, Managing Director of Numill

Source: Womanthology

Anne-Wilson MBE of Numill
Anne Wilson MBE is Managing Director of Numill, a Sheffield-based engineering company engaged in the repair and manufacturing of cutting tools, serving industries including high precision automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, rail and general engineering. The company is an experienced exporter, with half of the company’s repairs service made up of export sales. Anne bought Numill in a management buyout following a career change from banking to engineering after she pursued a degree in Management and a postgraduate qualification in Strategic Management.

Business is GREAT: Anne Wilson, Numill

Anne Wilson

“…I am not unique and I’m one of many female entrepreneurs already travelling the world for work and business. I would encourage anyone to get out there and take that first step. My first venture out of Europe on my own was to fly to Bangkok and Singapore. It was an exhilarating experience…”

Shocked, surprised and humbled to have been awarded an MBE

Anne-Wilson of Numill MBE at her Investiture

Anne at her investiture

I was recently shocked, surprised and very humbled to find out I had been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list. The citation read – “Services to Engineering in Yorkshire”.Numill is a Yorkshire based company located in Sheffield – a manufacturing heartland of which I am extremely proud. Being ‘born and bred’ in the region is, as they say, something to be proud of.

My career to date

My background is banking and finance, starting out as a junior cashier in the chief cashier’s office before joining Midland Bank (HSBC) in 1976 as part of the team employed to bring some of the bank’s international services to the city. Following a period of maternity leave and the quite sudden death of my mum in 1988, I left the bank. At that time it was ‘full time or no time’ and there were no women managers in the bank and little sign of aspiring to be one any time soon.

A period of part time posts – still in financial institutions – followed before taking up a position with a local company specialising in welding equipment to look after their accounting function and payroll etc.

Losing my father: A catalytic effect

Losing my father to become a 40 year old orphan had a catalytic effect. I needed to do more and put the time I had been spending with Dad to good use so it wasn’t wasted. I went back to college to do an accounting qualification to ratify my knowledge for future employers. I also decided on a career move to help me achieve more of my potential. There were a scary few months in there as I didn’t settle in a big organisation fraught with bureaucracy over sense. I answered a newspaper advert – “Book keeper required – Apply box…”

This turned out to be Numill – a precision engineering company. I got the job, worked alongside the person who was due to retire in a few weeks and then made the job my own. I gradually expanded the role to take on the day-to-day management of a small business encompassing everything from petty cash to balance sheet and everything in between such as H.R., health and safety, along with other statutory requirements.

From hypothetical to real life management buyout

Education was still a big motivator for me. Following success of becoming an ACCA ccounting Technician, I embarked on a Management degree supported by my boss and subsequently a post graduate qualification in Strategic Management. My dissertation at strategic level was: “Passing the Baton – Management Buyout of Numill Ltd”. Hypothetical at the time (2004), but then I bought it to become sole director and shareholder in 2006. It’s my 10th year this year which is amazing!

A niche, value adding service for a client base that includes some of the world’s most prestigious companies


Anne with her Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs Award

Numill has a niche, value adding, service to offer clients involved in manufacturing things from metal and other materials. We work with our customers across all sectors but mainly described as the “Big Four” – automotive, energy, rail and aerospace. Our client base includes some of the world’s most prestigious companies – Ford, Renault, Mercedes, Jaguar Land Rover, Cummins, JCB, Progress Rail and David Brown amongst many more both in the UK and through our export distribution networks.

Our export network is predominantly European at present but with a footprint in South East Asia and a new venture in progress in Turkey.

Repairing and manufacturing cutting tools for industry

Numill’s service includes both the repair and manufacture of cutting tools for industry. Our manufacturing service concentrates on bespoke tooling and small batch work. However, our capability covers much more than this with the expertise to produce components, machine parts and offer sub-contract machining and turning services.

The repairs service – or to use the terminology for the Government’s new initiative – “remanufacturing of cutting tools” – enables customers to have damaged and worn tooling repaired, giving 100% of the capability of a new tool, often at a fraction of the cost. Customers can benefit from significant savings but in the knowledge that they are getting a quality service from Numill. The environmental benefits are also significant as there is less waste created whilst protecting finite metal resources.

Our export profile


Numill’s apprentice, Abi, learning on the job

Numill has been exporting for many years with 18% of turnover going overseas prior to me joining. When I bought the company it rose to 24% following initiatives I had put in place. Prior to the recession in Europe our export had risen to 40%. After the severe European slump the average is now increasing once more to around 30%. Numill has a strong brand in Europe and is known for service and quality. These are the messages we intend to take in to new markets.

Support from UKTI

I have worked with UKTI [UK Trade & Investment] since 2010 on programmes involving dedicated visits to countries in South East Asia including Thailand for an exhibition, Singapore and Malaysia. Although UKTI has suffered budget contractions there has been support available with signposting, knowledge and subvention to assist with travel to new markets. Last year I joined a Trade Mission to Turkey organised by International Trade Forum, a peer to peer export networking group based in Sheffield.

This trip was supported by UKTI enabling me to visit a new country of interest to us. The strong automotive industry makes Turkey an ideal target for market entry. We now have contact with an agent who is promoting Numill’s services.

Tool trials have been completed with further marketing and research being conducted with the help of Sheffield Hallam University and its Venture Matrix programme, where students work on real life projects using their skills. I am currently working with a Ph.D. student who is taking the research into greater depth for us with market surveys and mapping of potential targets.

Entry into new markets – a slow burn built on relationships

Entry into new markets can be a very slow burn as it is important to make contact, build relationships and embed your services with integrity. If you ask any exporter what the key is, the majority will say ‘relationships’ every time.

I am not unique and I’m one of many female entrepreneurs already travelling the world for work and business. I would encourage anyone to get out there and take that first step. My first venture out of Europe on my own was to fly to Bangkok and Singapore. It was an exhilarating experience to be sat in the boardroom of a Singaporean company with the M.D. and seven of his best engineers, and being told to ‘begin’ my presentation. I knew my subject and walked from there with my head held high.

Success begins with just one step

Anne Wilson of Numill with the Duke of Cambridge at her investiture

Anne with the Duke of Cambridge at her investiture

Do your research on the market and culture. Always be aware of your own safety but do not let it stop you. Success begins with just one step!

Numill has been through a significant restructure recently to ensure we are stronger for the future. My ‘goals board’ now has a strategy through to 2020 with target markets, clients and industries.

When I bought Numill I said I’d give it 15 years. Now in my 10th anniversary year, I am so excited by what the future holds I still want to give it 15 years.

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