UKTI Case study – Racebikebitz
Racebikebitz, established in 2004, is gearing up for worldwide success as international demand grows for its range of high quality, hand-crafted replacement silicone coolant hoses for motorbikes.
The hoses, which have been developed over 12 years, use a unique manufacturing process to increase air flow, durability and performance. They also enhance the motorbike visually, and appeal to motorbike enthusiasts worldwide.
The company, which supplies some of the world’s leading motorcycle race teams including Yamaha and Kawasaki, contacted UKTI in 2009 following a recommendation from a business adviser at HSBC Bank.
Managing director Richard Murphy explains: “Up to that point most of our international activity had been reactive and orders were just coming in as and when, via the internet.
“I decided that I wanted to be much more proactive but didn’t know where to begin. I needed help in building an export strategy and securing global distributors, which is where UKTI came in.”
As a starting point, Richard attended a morning workshop in Newmarket where he was introduced to guest speaker and UKTI trade adviser Noel Harvey. Noel spoke in detail about the grants available to help small, local businesses to export.
Richard quickly built up a good working relationship with Noel and in 2010 took advantage of a £1500 UKTI grant, available through the Tradeshow Access Programme, which enabled him to exhibit at the B2B Intermot exhibition in Germany - Europe’s leading fair for the motorcycle industry.
“Taking part in overseas exhibitions is an effective way for SMEs like Racebikebitz to begin the process of attracting customers and finding distributors or agents in a brand new market,” says Noel. “The grant support is a boost that helps small firms to commit and take that decision to exhibit.”
“At Intermot we had access to some of the Europe’s largest motorcycle industry distributors,” explains Richard. “The first time we exhibited, we received 300 leads from 37 different countries.
The contacts we made at that exhibition still account for more than £10,000 of our monthly sales. In 2012 we exhibited again at the same exhibition, also with grant assistance from UKTI, and were able to maintain and build on the contacts we had already made.
“There’s no way we would have been able to afford to exhibit at Intermot without UKTI’s help.”
Following the success of the two exhibitions Richard decided he wanted to expand on his growing export knowledge and attended a two day workshop in 2012 as part of the Passport to Export scheme, a skills-based programme that provides new and inexperienced exporters with the training, planning and ongoing support they need to succeed overseas.
“The two day workshop goes through the export process in detail,” says Noel. “It can really help businesses develop their international strategy and stop them going off at a tangent. Richard particularly benefited from the talks on international property rights and the best routes to market.”
Richard adds: “I made some really crucial contacts at the workshop. At the time we were considering working with a distributor in Taiwan but were unsure as to whether they were legitimate.
“One of the UKTI International Trade Advisers assisting with the workshop kindly agreed to carry out an investigation on my behalf, which revealed that they were an unknown company and so we decided not to pursue this any further. The workshop really helped us in terms of identifying potential risks to the business.”
Richard has since worked with trade adviser Noel on an Export Communications Review which enabled him to re-develop his e-commerce website and make it multi-currency, as well as improving search engine optimisation, which has dramatically increased traffic to the website.
Since first getting in touch with UKTI in 2009, Racebikebitz has gone from strength to strength internationally and the company has increased its global trade by 55 per cent.
Richard continues to receive support from UKTI East. He is currently embarking on the Gateway to Global Growth programme through which experienced exporters can take their international strategy to the next level with a view to entering the Brazilian and Japanese markets.
“Four years ago only 10 per cent of our total income came from overseas trade; now this has increased to 65 per cent and we have trebled our turnover. UKTI not only gave me the confidence to develop the international side of the business but they also provided vital funding.”
Noel added: “The results are there to be seen. Richard is a great example of someone who has taken UKTI advice on board and used it to take his business in the right direction internationally.”
To find out more about UK Trade and Investment services in the East of England contact your local International Trade team –
Tel: 0845 641 9955
Email: info [at] uktieast.org.uk