28 May, 2012 - 09:45 By News Desk

Going out is the new staying in

My feet didn’t touch the ground in the week after I came back from leave but I’ve just had a straight day in the office and a chance to catch up on the inbox.

One of the messages waiting told me that the BIS (Department for Business Innovation and Skills) scheme formerly known as Business Coaching for Growth had been renamed GrowthAccelerator.

That was enough to make me take a look at the website. There are some terrific success stories there including one from Cambridge-based Metail, a virtual fitting room that allows you to create a model of yourself from uploaded photographs, see how clothes fit and experiment with new trends.

I haven’t had time to try the service yet but it sounds fantastic. And with help from GrowthAccelerator the company has raised more than £1.5m of funding and doubled its staff in the last year.

You can read Metail’s full story and others at www.growthaccelerator.com but I was particularly struck by a quote on the website from CEO Tom Adeyoola.

Tom said: “Networking with other people going through the same experience gave me some interesting insights. For example, in two minutes can I understand what their business does? No? Then I need to think more about how I explain my own business.”

That’s one of the first things we talk about with companies on our Passport to Export workshops. Yes, we’re all familiar with the idea of an elevator pitch but how many of us could produce one to order? The ability to explain what you do is absolutely key to landing a new customer, particularly if you’re in a new technology business or talking to a potential client overseas.

Of course we like to see companies with export potential even before they are ready to go international. A group of novice export companies came together a week ago at an export event organised by Dr Therese Coffey and Peter Aldous, MPs for Coastal Suffolk and Waveney.

It’s brilliant to have MPs from the region spreading the export message alongside UKTI. At the clinic session afterwards I was struck by the diversity of business models, products and services we heard about, from educational resources to biofuels to design and marketing.

Every bit of this region has something fresh to offer and it’s great to get out and about across the patch and meet companies hungry for export success. I’d do it more often if it wasn’t for the inbox.

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