How to become an export champion

  Thursday, 03 November 2022 10:06
Pictured above: Focus SB managing Director Gary Stevens Pictured above: Focus SB managing Director Gary Stevens

By Focus SB Managing Director Gary Stevens

In 2020 I accepted an invitation from the Department for International Trade (DIT) to become an Export Champion for the Southeast UK.

The Export Champions Community is made up of over 400 individuals from businesses, who help DIT to reach out to business, by sharing their exporting expertise with new and inexperienced exporters and promoting the benefits of exporting. It is a great honour to be part of this community.

So, how did we achieve this honour?

From left to right: Zhangfeng Zheng, Director of the CQC, Chen Liu (CQC), Guangcheng Zhang, Deputy Director CQC, Mark Curtis, Focus SB’s Technical Manager, Duncan Ray, Focus SB’s Head of Strategic Partnerships (formerly NPI Manager), Mark Tang, Kursel Ltd and Mr Yu, Hangzhou Branch Director CQC.

Build a global strategy

Focus SB exports to more than 30 countries and regions.

Focus SB became the first and only British (and European) premium electrical wiring accessories manufacturer licensed to export and sell to mainland China’s luxury hospitality and residential construction markets in 2017.

China was part of our longer-term strategy in 2016. We had the foresight to predict uncertainty and the threat of a potential future slowdown in the UK construction sector and put plans together prior to this event to mitigate any potential risk to future trading.

We now have seven showrooms and 10 sub distributors out there, and business has really taken off.

Some of the products manufactured and exported to China by Focus SB

Use free and tailored business support from DIT

We would advise other companies who are considering embarking upon an export strategy to seek the help and advice from the DIT UK team as well as the DIT team in the territory/territories they are looking to venture into.

It is free of charge!

Develop an international network

The DIT has introduced us to clients in the creative industries in China and provided valuable financial support as well as market information and webinars on exporting and regular support via its social media channels.

In November 2019 we announced new partnership deals with our sub distributors in Xiamen and Hangzhou and launched two showrooms during China International Import Expo (CIIE).

From left to right: Dominic Lyons Head of Business Intelligence Department for International Trade (DIT), John Edwards Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for China (DIT) pictured with Stella Du and Sunny Chen, Kursel, Focus SB's main distributor partner.

The event led to Focus SB winning its first milestone order in China, the Pudong International Airport Satellite Hall.

We’ve also benefited from project introductions in Dubai, and grants for travel to networking events in China and the Middle East, with our Sales Office and Export Manager, Mark Thomas officially part of the DIT’s Trade Mission to The Big 5 in Dubai event in 2019, leading to major new project opportunities.

Be an ambassador

In November 2022, I accepted an invitation for the export champion role to be extended to 2022/2023 in recognition of the contribution Focus SB makes towards the South East’s economic growth, then again in April 2023 as Export Champion for Southern England 2023/24 at the same time as we proudly achieved a first ever King’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade!

Whether you’re looking to take the first steps on your export journey, or looking to expand your global business, head to the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) Events page and look out for International Trade Week.


Post updated (last paragraph) May 2023.




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