Window to the world: Lord Green meets innovators
A Cambridge company that developed world-leading touch sensor technology was one of the businesses Lord Green, Trade and Investment Minister, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), met as he attended the ‘Explore Export’ event at Newmarket Racecourse.
Cambridge-based Visualplanet developed the innovative touchfoil™ in 2002 – a clear, large format film that can be applied to glass to add interactive touch capabilities to shop windows and other display areas. With strong export markets in the United States and Europe, they are now an established global player in the growing interactive digital signage market.
More than 150 firms from across the region attended Explore Export to get advice from over 60 overseas market experts – whether they were just starting their export activity or more experienced exporters looking to expand into new markets.
Lord Green said: “Export Week is all about getting more UK businesses to sell overseas. The East of England is known worldwide for fostering world-leading innovation and I’m pleased to meet ground-breaking firms like Visualplanet who are working closely with UKTI, reaping the benefits as they identify and penetrate new overseas markets.”
Vernon Spencer, director, Visualplanet said: “Visualplanet is proud to be a UK manufacturer supplying the touchfoil™ to customers all around the world. Our export business has been crucial to our success and development over the last ten years and we are always looking for new ways we can better our global service, enhancing our support offering, and improving our ways of doing business together.
“The support, resources and information from UKTI is extremely valuable to help us learn and increase our understanding on how to achieve this.”
Export Week was a major component of the National Challenge and part of a concerted campaign led by Lord Green to increase the number of British companies that export, from current levels of around 20 per cent to 25 per cent or more.
By increasing the number of companies that export by roughly a quarter, about £36 billion could be added to the UK economy.
Around 450 delegates attended Export Week events and were able to tap into expertise that covered 60 international markets. More than 1,000 1-2-1s were set up with market experts at Explore Export. The range of topics covered at these events included: How to begin exporting, How to finance international expansion, Doing business in markets such as South Africa, Canada, the Nordics and Baltics and Singapore.
Liz Basing regional director UKTI East said: “Export week was a huge success for the region’s businesses, UKTI, and our partners. During the course of the week over 450 delegates from companies across the region attended events to get advice across a range of export issues – from taking first exporting steps, to financing international expansion and doing business in markets as diverse as South Africa, Canada, Scandinavia and Singapore. At the Explore Export event alone more than 1000 meetings were held with trade experts representing over 60 markets.
“But now the week is over, the conversation does not end here. UKTI international trade advisers remain on call to help the region’s businesses with expert advice, as they continue their exporting journey and join the ranks of those already reaping the benefits of doing business overseas.”
Software entrepreneur and VC Dr Mike Lynch hosted a Queen’s Awards for International Trade lunch during Export Week. The East of England has enjoyed considerable success in recent years in the Queen’s Awards for International Trade with a record 19 winners in 2013 (out of 116 awards nationally) and 17 the previous year.
Attendees were: Plant Parts Ltd; Colortrac; Hidden Technology; Horizon Discovery; Italian Beverage Company; Orange Music Electronic Company; The Moller Centre; Sentec Ltd; RealVNC; Astro Lighting; PCME Ltd; Renewable Energy Systems; Royal Society of Chemistry; Symon Dacon Ltd; Cambridge Satchel Company; BlueGnome; Domino Printing Sciences; Contamac Ltd; R D Trading; Spiral Software Ltd; Ubisense; Adnams plc; CRFS Ltd; Easypack Ltd; Global Inkject Systems; Mettler-Toledo Safeline X-Ray Ltd; Pipeshield International Ltd; Seers Medical; Structure-Flex Ltd; LMK Thermosafe Ltd; Inca Digital; Charterhouse PM Ltd; Omex Agrifluids.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Lord Green at the Explore Export event at Newmarket