Stoke Staffs LEP
Growth Hub helps firms win £70m worth of overseas orders
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Growth Hub helps firms win £70m worth of overseas orders

Small and medium sized local businesses going for export growth in 2015 have generated over £70million in overseas orders, with help from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Hub.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub provides support and advice to businesses and works with international trade advisors from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to support export growth. In the period between April and November 2015, UKTI helped local companies to win export orders totalling £71.5million.

In the same period, 221 businesses received intensive export support, 47 small and medium sized companies signed up to UKTI’s New to Export programme and 63 medium-sized firms received specialist export services. Anyone can contact the hub through the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002.

Among the Staffordshire successes was electrical accessories manufacturer and supplier Scolmore Group. The Tamworth-based company has seen its range of products installed in major residential and commercial developments across the UK and internationally. It produces its product range through five company divisions. Through Staffordshire Growth Hub and UKTI support, Scolmore has seen its exporting grow substantially and has established itself globally.

Scolmore’s export sales manager Jerome Leve said: “We only started exporting five years ago and are now selling our products all over the world. In the first three years, UKTI supported us in setting up overseas network and finding the right distributors. “After three years when our networks were established we received support in showcasing our products at trade exhibitions in places like Qatar and Dubai. Now exports make up 10 per cent of our sales – so this has made a big difference to us.”

Rob Lawley Head of UK Trade & Investment (Staffordshire), said: “Exporting can be quite a challenge to any organisation regardless of size, but with the support available via UK Trade & Investment and the Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub there is no reason why businesses cannot rise to the challenge and trade internationally. The area has a large number of excellent companies who can perform well in global markets. Our role is to facilitate this and I would encourage any company wishing to start exporting or increase sales overseas to get in contact with us via the helpline 0300 111 8002.”

Staffordshire County Council’s economy leader Mark Winnington said: “It is pleasing to see Staffordshire performing so well in exporting its goods and services. I am confident this will continue to increase in 2016 and would urge companies considering exporting to contact the Growth Hub or UKTI as a first step. We can see from the Scolmore Group’s experience that this has been invaluable and is making a real difference to the company. It’s great to see Staffordshire produced goods making their mark across the world and contributing to our local growth and job creation.”

The Growth Hub was established by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP to play a major role in the drive for strong, sustainable business growth across the LEP area. It acts as the focal point for businesses that wish to grow, providing co-ordinated and cohesive growth programmes, business networks, growth groups and links to specialist information, advice and services. The funding for the Growth Hub was secured from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund through Lancaster University, which led the creation of 15 new growth hubs across the UK.