Export opportunities opened up by UKTI

An IT security awareness provider has hailed the opportunities created by a UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) trip as the organisation prepares to take businesses interested in overseas trade on visits to The Hague, Lisbon and Madrid.

The trips are open to small and medium-sized businesses with little or no international trading experience and not already selling to the markets they are visiting and want to target.

As part of UKTI’s First-Time Exporters package of support, the mission to Lisbon and Madrid runs from 18 to 20 January 2016 and that to The Hague for companies wanting to export to Benelux countries is between 16 and 18 February.

One business to benefit from the Export Insight Visit programme is Bob’s Business, an information security awareness training provider with ten staff based at the Digital Media Centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire that joined a recent Visit to Riga in Latvia focused on cyber security.

Bob’s visited Riga in November 2015 because it wanted to develop a newly-established relationship with a Latvian partner.

Melanie Oldham, managing director of Bob’s Business said: “The visit gave us the opportunity to work with Latvian businesses to enhance our current product range and also to develop a localised version of or product for testing in the local market.”

Other Yorkshire companies to have joined a previous export insight visit to Iberia include giftware provider Pigment Productions and business and consumer services providers Adigi and Saxton Partners, all three of which are based in Harrogate, Bradford mechanical and process engineering firm Chanter Biomed and Aventus Law of Leeds.

Mark Robson, UKTI regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The export insight visits have proved to be a great way for first time exporters to open the door to potentially lucrative markets overseas for their goods and services.”

Source: Business Insider, 8 January 2016

To find out more about the Insight visits or seek support from UKTI please contact or call 0300 365 1000

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The Biggest Trends in Digital Media in 2015

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to recap on what has been a busy year in the digital media landscape. Parsely, a company that specializes on audience analytics, conducted a year-end poll among hundreds of digital publishers worldwide to identify the most notable trends of the past 12 months.

According to the survey results, summed up in our chart, the fact that mobile traffic now exceeds desktop traffic for many publishers has been the most noteworthy development in 2015. The pace at which mobile content caught up with and finally surpassed desktop content is truly astonishing. Less than 10 years ago, the smartphone was a niche gadget and now it is arguably the most important device for content consumption.

Other notable trends and topics in 2015 include the increase in social content distribution, ad-blocking and a more strategic use of analytics.

This charts shows the results of a survey among digital publishers regarding the biggest trends in 2015.

Source: Statista



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Business leaders back Britain’s ambitions for growth

First ambassadors announced for International Festival for Business 2016

Prominent entrepreneurs and leaders within Britain’s business community have today pledged their support for the International Festival for Business (IFB) 2016.

The unveiling of the new cohort of ambassadors for IFB2016 comes as new data shows the inaugural festival was directly responsible for more than £280 million worth of deals and sales.

Backed by HM Government, IFB2016 is the world’s biggest business festival. It will bring together thousands of global businesses, providing a platform for companies to connect and conduct international commerce. Put simply it is a global marketplace where deals are done.

Announced today, the first wave of IFB2016 Ambassadors:

• Kelly Hoppen MBE, Interior Designer
• Wayne Hemingway MBE, Co-Founder, Red or Dead and Hemingway Design
• Lord Bilimoria CBE, DL, Founder, Cobra Beer
• Will Butler-Adams OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Brompton Bicycles
• Professor Sir Keith Burnett FRS, Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield
• Manish Madhvani, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, GP Bullhound
• Claire Braithwaite, Head, Tech North

They join world-leading business organisations that have already partnered with the festival, including HSBC, DLA Piper, Heathrow, Siemens, PWC and Virgin Trains.

The ambassadors’ unveiling comes as new data demonstrates the impact of the inaugural Festival. The first comprehensive evaluation report’s highlights found:

• More than £280 million of total investment deals and export sales
• More than 6,000 jobs have been created by IFB participants, a figure expected to rise to 8,000
• More than 2,000 companies secured domestic sales worth hundreds of millions of pounds
• More than 600 companies secured export sales worth more than £80 million
• More than 150 companies signed investment deals worth £200 million

IFB2014 was a global showcase for great British business and the largest business festival in the world this year. The 50-day festival in Liverpool attracted 68,600 business attendees from 92 countries at 415 event.

Next summer’s festival follows the success of the inaugural IFB in 2014, which produced more than £200m of investment deals and new export sales totaling more than £80m were the direct result of introductions and connections facilitated by the event.

As a global showcase for great British industries and sectors, the festival is a key date in the UK and international business calendar commencing on 13 June 2016. It will focus on three key sectors that are transforming the business landscape of Britain and beyond, including: manufacturing; creative & digital; and energy and environment.

Max Steinberg CBE, Chair of IFB2016, said:

“With the backing of UK government and support of such reputable business leaders, the International Festival for Business 2016 will undoubtedly be the greatest global business showcase of next year.

“The UK’s hidden business gems will come together to define the future of international business – showcasing the best Britain has to offer and forging long lasting global business relationships. Our ambassadors will play a crucial role in ensuring the legacy and impact of IFB2016.”

Source: IFB 2016

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Top Rotherham exporters reveal secrets of their success

Three of Rotherham’s leading exporters are set to share their export journey, offer their insights and reveal their top tips for local businesses looking to break into international trade at an event organised by UKTI, the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and RIDO.

The free breakfast event aims to help grow the Rotherham Economy by helping every business fulfil their export potential.

Being held at Fusion@Magna in Rotherham on October 15, it is aimed at entrepreneurs looking to take their first step in exports, businesses wanting to get top tips on expanding overseas operations or for anyone wanting to meet valuable contacts who can share their expertise and global networks.

From rapid growth stories and becoming a recognised world leader in specialist sectors to how a party planning crisis turned into a multi-million international business empire, the event will offer unique insights into finding success overseas and guests will also be able to ask these business leaders how they overcame the export challenges they have faced.

Those attending will also receive a free copy of a new guide to international trade called Five Steps To Export, which offers simple advice on identifying new opportunities overseas and how you can find growth on foreign shores.

The companies speaking at the event will be:

Gala Tents – Founded by Jason Mace in Rotherham and is now one of the world’s leading distributors of quality marquees and gazebos. After spotting a gap in the market when he had a millennium party planning crisis, Jason now turns over more than £10m a year and exports to dozens of countries around the globe.

Newburgh Engineering – The advanced manufacturing business from Rotherham works on some of the world’s most demanding engineering projects from nuclear reactors and state-of-the-art military equipment to the next world record breaking land speed attempt with the supersonic Bloodhound project. It has customers in a wealth of countries and is in high demand around the globe.

Pyronix – As a Rotherham-based world leader in the manufacture of security equipment including control panels, detectors and external sounds, Pyronix has grown 15% every year since 2010 and is now on course to reach £20m of annual sales by the end of 2014, 40% of which is in international markets.

Regional director of UKTI Yorkshire and Humber, Mark Robson, says: “Exports are crucial to the future prosperity of this region and our country. Brand Britain is in high demand across the globe and our businesses should be making the most of these opportunities.

“This event will allow businesses in Rotherham to hear how their neighbours are finding growth in international trade, learn how they can do the same and also meet like-minded businesses who can help them on their export journey.

“Without exports your business isn’t fulfilling its growth potential. International trade isn’t difficult, it’s just different and we hope this event will help inspire more to take their first steps into a new market.”

William Beckett, who won two Queen’s Awards for International Trade with William Beckett Plastics and is Chair of the Sheffield City Region Export Partnership, adds: “Exports are crucial to the success of my own business and the LEP is dedicated to helping more businesses deliver growth through international trade.

“We are world leaders in everything from the products we produce to the services we provide in this region and we should be doing everything we can to ensure every business fulfils its export potential.

“By sharing some of the incredible success stories in Rotherham with local business leaders we are confident we can encourage others to follow their examples.

“By working together and sharing our experiences and contacts we can really show the world what the Sheffield City Region has to offer the world.”

The free event at Fusion@Magna on October 15 starts at 8am and attendees will hear from each of the exporters before getting the chance to ask their own questions.

To register for a place, visit


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EU and Vietnam reach agreement on free trade deal

Following a telephone conversation this morning between EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, all issues of substance have been agreed on, and both sides have reached a mutually beneficial and balanced package.

This agreement will remove nearly all tariffs on goods traded between the two economies. “We have a deal. This finely balanced agreement will boost trade with one of Asia’s most dynamic economies. It sets a new, better and modern model for Free Trade Agreements between the EU and developing countries, and establishes a good standard for the trade relationship between the EU and South East Asia as a whole.” said Commissioner Malmström.

“Vietnam is a growing economy and once this agreement is up and running, it will provide significant new opportunities for companies on both sides, by increasing market access for goods and services. Over 31 million jobs in Europe depend on exports, so having easier access to a growing and fast developing market like Vietnam, with its 90 million consumers, is great news. And Vietnam’s exporters will now get much easier access to the EU for their products, giving an important boost to the Vietnamese economy. Both sides have worked extremely hard in the past few months to achieve this breakthrough”, she added.

On the basis of today’s agreement, the negotiating teams will now continue the process, settle some remaining technical issues and finalise the legal text. Once finalised, the agreement will then need to be approved by the Council and European Parliament.

Read the press release and a detailed memo on the EU-Vietnam FTA.

Source: European Commission

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UKTI appoints new Chief Executive

Dr Catherine Raines will become Chief Executive of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) from  7th  September 2015, following current Chief Executive Dominic Jermey’s appointment to a new priority position as Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) International Counter-Extremism Coordinator.

Currently Minister and Director-General for UKTI China, Dr Catherine Raines has more than 20 years’ experience in FTSE100 business across the UK, Europe, the United States and China, where she variously held senior leadership roles in Operations, Corporate Development and Corporate Audit. Prior to joining the civil service, she also ran her own business as well as holding the role of Deputy Chief Executive at Staffordshire County Council. She takes up the post of UKTI Chief Executive after more than 2 years leading UKTI in China, having overseen an increase in UK business successes attributable to UKTI support from around £300 million a year to more than £3.7 billion.

Dominic Jermey joined the FCO in 1993 and prior to his role as UKTI Chief Executive was Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, where pursuing UKinterests in countering extremism was a key issue. In earlier roles, Dominic was based in Afghanistan with a focus on UK anti-terrorist objectives, led on the threat from Afghanistan-based extremist groups, and worked in Pakistan on Islamist issues affecting the UK. He will take up his new position at FCO on 4 September 2015.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Maude said:

The world increasingly sees Britain as the best place to do business in and to do business from. UKTI has a central role in mobilising government support for exports and inward investment. We have made great progress, especially in attracting investment from overseas, where Britain’s success among EU countries is second to none.

I am hugely grateful to Dominic for his leadership of UKTI, and wish him every success in his vital new role. I look forward to working with Catherine, who comes with a high reputation for leading change in both public and private sectors.

Notes to editors

  1. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high-quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.
  2. Catherine Raines’ career history is as follows:
    • Minister and Director-General, UKTI China, Beijing, 2013 to 2015
    • Deputy Chief Executive, Staffordshire County Council, 2010 to 2013
    • Owner, LiKailin Contemporary Fine Art, 2008 to 2010
    • Vice-President Corporate Development, AstraZeneca, China, 2006 to 2008
    • Head of Group Corporate Audit, AstraZeneca, London, 2004 to 2006
    • roles including Global Head of Operations (Respiratory) and Director, New Products Introduction, AstraZeneca, 1998 to 2004
    • Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, 1994 to 1998
    • ICI Pharmaceuticals, 1988 to 1994
  3. Catherine Raines has previously held Non-Executive Directorships with Pinewood Group, HM Land Registry, the Criminal Records Bureau, and the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership, and has also been a Trustee at the Whitehall and Industry Group.


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German for Enterprise project supports Yorkshire exports


Germanic Studies at Sheffield University is currently developing a unique collaboration with local businesses as part of the Final Year Language programme.

Businesses in Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Humber with trade connections in Germany or Austria, or those companies keen to expand into the German market, are invited to work with our students on a language-business project: German for Enterprise. Germany is the UK’s second biggest trading partner so this is a prime opportunity for Sheffield students to get acquainted with the UK’s export drive, and for local businesses to get the edge in doing business with German-speaking companies.

The content of the project is based around the unique business needs of the participating companies. Selected businesses team up with the Year 4 students with the full support of the University’s language experts as well as the Sheffield University Enterprise Unit.

Halton International and Fokus Sheffield have already benefited from engagement with the project, and recommend local exporters find out how it can help them too.

Information on the project is available on the Sheffield University portal here.

For more information on how the project has supported us, contact us.

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BIS issues guidance on Greece for businesses

Greece has introduced temporary capital controls: guidance for businesses. image






Greece has announced that they are introducing capital controls on the movement of currency. If you trade with Greece, or you rely on suppliers there, you may find that you are directly affected by the situation. The way your company is affected will depend on:

  • the business that you do
  • the contracts you have
  • whether your bank has been affected

As a result of the temporary capital controls introduced by Greece, it is possible that you may experience delays in receiving payments originating from Greece. Greek companies may experience problems making payments and deliveries. The main impacts you may experience relate to contracts and the transfer of money (cash flow). Where countries have experienced disruption in the past, companies have experienced:

  • delays on payments and deliveries
  • impacts on demand due to ongoing economic uncertainty

To ensure you are aware of the current trading conditions , see the website for detailed guidance.

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Emerging Economy Infrastructure Investment hits $107.5bn

The World Bank Logo


Worldbank data reveals that the top five counties with the highest investment commitments are Brazil, Turkey, Peru, Columbia and India are top. These five countries together attracted US$78 billion, representing 73 percent of the investment commitments in the developing world in 2014.

Total infrastructure investments in 139 emerging economies – for projects with private participation in the energy, transport and water sectors – rose to US$107.5 billion in 2014, driven largely by increasing activity in Brazil, according to an update released on the 9th of June to the World Bank Group’s “Private Participation in Infrastructure” database.

The data, covering the period from 1990 to 2014, reviews more than 6,000 projects across 139 low- and middle-income economies, providing a rich source of data on private infrastructure investment in emerging markets.

“Our update reveals that the top five countries with the highest investment commitments in 2014 are Brazil, Turkey, Peru, Colombia and India,” said Clive Harris, Practice Manager, Public-Private Partnerships, World Bank Group. “These five countries together attracted US$78 billion, representing 73 percent of the investment commitments in the developing world in 2014.”

For more on this story, see the Worldbank press release.

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Export Control: Licencing Performance Dashboard imageUnder the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Export Control Organisation (ECO) promotes global security through strategic export controls, facilitating responsible exports. They aim to help exporters sell their goods responsibly within the law.

As such, they see exporters as customers and work to demanding efficiency targets:

  • 70% of licence applications processed within 20 working days
  • 99% of licence applications processed within 60 working days


The ECO provide a regularly updated web page to give you a snapshot of current performance against targets, and also how they are doing on a country-by-country basis. The page also provides guidance on export licence applications and various links to additional services to support export development.

The intention of the ECO is that the information will help you to make better licence applications, which they believe is the key to the efficiency of the whole process.

Potential and existing exporters should find the content useful when looking at developing export markets within their business.

For more information, visit the website here.

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