23 November, 2011 - 16:58 By News Desk

Wired into Africa

Like many of you reading this I spend far too much time behind a desk, so it’s all the more enjoyable when I do get the chance to meet some of the people out there at the sharp end of exporting.

I spent a day out and about last week. My first port of call was Deta Electrical Ltd which designs, sells and distributes a huge range of wiring and electrical products from its base in Laporte Way in Luton.  I met Peter Jenkin its export sales manager who since he joined the company has achieved impressive overseas sales growth from a very modest base.

Peter told me that one of the first things he did after he joined Deta was to contact UKTI and we’ve been alongside the company for six years now, helping to grow the business so that now exports make up a significant proportion of the company’s total sales.When Deta first started expanding overseas much of its sales effort went to the Middle East but because trading conditions have been more challenging there in recent years its emphasis has now changed.  Africa – in particular Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania are now its top three export markets.Support from banks, legal advisers and other intermediary organisations is vital to firms who want to do real international business – that was the clear message from David Cameron and our Minister Stephen Green at an SME conference in London last week and Deta’s experience bears that out.Talking to Peter Jenkin I found out how Deta Electrical worked with its bank to find a solution both sides were happy with. He also used UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) to carry out research into potential new markets. Once UKTI had researched options for Deta, Anton Rudgalvis, one of our team of experienced International Trade Advisors, met with Peter and, together, they developed an export strategy.The overseas trade teams based in our High Commissions, Consulates and Embassies can provide pretty much any sort of help a company needs, from detailed research on opportunities and threats, competition and the regulatory environment to contacting potential distributors and manufacturers.  Promotional events at Britain’s many impressive Embassy buildings are another option, and one that really helps get the right people in front of your products or services.  But what brings everything together is the company’s export plan, and working with the company to put a strategy together is where UKTI’s advisers really show their worth.And the plan’s working for Deta - exports are an increasingly important and profitable part of their business.  Anton says that one of the best things about working with this company is that they are always ready to ask for help. If they do not know something, they will call – and we will assist.  That’s what we’re here for.

Find out how UKTI can help your company succeed overseas at www.ukti.gov.uk

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