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20 March, 2012 - 17:46 By News Desk

East meets east in Warsaw

Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Poland

Viridian Solar, a Cambridge UK based solar manufacturing company, was among businesses from the East of England and Midlands regions that attended a recent trade mission to Warsaw, Poland.

Organised by Enterprise Europe Network and UK Trade and Investment the trade mission attracted business representatives from around the region looking for new overseas markets.

Companies including manufacturers, those in the construction industry, specialist recruitment agencies, project management, trading, consultancy and retail were welcomed to Poland by the British Ambassador, for a business reception which drew over 100 Polish companies.

Held at the British Embassy, the joint event prepared alongside the British Polish Chamber of Commerce confirmed Poland’s position as the leading export destination in central Europe and the highest potential growth market in Europe.

Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Poland said: “Driving growth through increased trade and investment is a priority shared by both Britain and Poland. Helping British business – of all sizes – is what we are going to be doing a lot more of in the future.”

Following the trade briefing, businesses from the UK networked with potential Polish contacts. The business reception was followed by two days of business to business meetings with potential partners active in Poland, arranged by Enterprise Europe Network.

Enterprise Europe East of England, based in Hatfield Business Park, is the regional branch of the Enterprise Europe Network – the continent’s largest business network, spanning 51 countries.

Cambridge based delegate Jonathan Mitchell of Viridian Solar said: “This was our first exploration into Eastern Europe, and is an area that we are looking to expand our business into over the next couple of years based on various factors.

“Whilst there are numerous challenges across the EU within both the Solar PV and Solar Thermal Markets, at the same time there are numerous opportunities that can be exploited and our strategy is now to accelerate our International efforts on the back of our success in the UK.”

Launched in 2007, Viridian Solar aims to encourage the widespread adoption of solar energy. The Cambridge based business already have a significant market share in the UK on new house builds for solar thermal systems.

Although it is early days for the companies’ ambitions in Europe, Mitchell said the response he received during his trip to Poland had been encouraging.

“The Polish trade mission was one example of how SME’s working through EEN and UKTI can benefit from a range of services when investigating new overseas markets. This approach proved very helpful and served as a nice introduction into the country and the potential on offer.

“EEN arranged 11 meetings for me in Warsaw, of which a few proved to be good contacts and I am already planning my next visit over there for next month.”

For more information on similar trade initiatives, call Enterprise Europe East of England on 0845 641 99 55 or visit www.enterpriseeuropeeast.org.uk

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Poland

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