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Thursday, 01 Mar 2012

Lord Green, Minister for Trade & Investment.

The calibre of the local Export for Growth prize finalists announced today highlights the creativity and innovation of firms across the East Midlands.

Lord Green, Minister for Trade & Investment.

Lord Green, Minister for Trade & Investment.

Top Ten East Midlands exporters announced in search for region’s best export idea

Trade Minister praises innovative finalists and calls for more firms to ‘export for growth’.

Ten East Midlands firms are in the running to win up to £5,000 of support to help target overseas markets thanks to the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Export for Growth prize, sponsored by PwC and HSBC.

The finalists were announced today during a regional Exporting for Growth event, organised by UKTI and The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and sponsored by HSBC and PwC, at Loughborough University. The event was hosted by BBC Breakfast Business’ Declan Curry.

The firms through to battle it out at the finals on 29 March in front of a live audience of business leaders are:

Blue Planet Buldings Ltd, Arnold for its environmentally friendly flat-pack buildings. The buildings can be assembled in less than an hour by unskilled staff, and with high levels of insulation and solar cells generating instant electricity, can provide fuel savings of up to 80 per cent. 

Southwell-based Flymount UK Ltd run by entrepreneurial father and son team, Chris and Joe Knapton, who have made it through to the finals with their new product which enables smartphone users to get the kind of coverage and point of view films and photography which would previously only be available with a specialist camera.  The stills and videos can then be edited on the phone without the need for a computer.

VIVO Smart Medical Devices, Nottingham for the Pupiloscope™ a product to help doctors diagnose life threatening head injuries; a new innovative hand held electronic medical device, which digitally measures and records pupil size and dilation in patient’s eyes.

Nottingham entrepreneur and mum Di Mayze of Bus 94 Ltd who invented pram wrist strap BuggyTug, has come up with a brand new product the TugTrio: three buggy straps in one pack; BuggyTug, TeddyTug, which attaches teddy to the buggy and the ToddleTug, a handle for a walking child to hold on to.

Newthorpe-based Synagi Intelligence Ltd which has invented a special handle which can be used for a combination of paint brush and tool heads.

Think Tanks, a father and son team from Diseworth - For its above ground petrol storage tanks which are already selling well in the UK since the firm was set up five months ago. The duo are now gearing up for global sales thanks to the product's potential to save companies time and money while improving safety.

Oakham-based media specialists Ear Productions for its range of multi-media scenarios, including specially-created TV and radio news bulletins, web pages and other resources to help companies, particularly those in the US, practise dealing with crisis situations such as floods, fires and civil unrest.  

Leicester-based software company Jadu Limited for its mobile web publishing network 'Weejot', an interactive mobile platform which allows organisations to create web apps and have control over branding. The product is already selling well in the UK, with customers ranging from universities to government.

Chesterfield’s Avoca Systems, market leaders in migrating patient data for NHS hospitals that are replacing their own patient management systems. By expanding internationally they’re hoping to create more jobs in Chesterfield.

Portable Floormaker, Castle Donington, thanks to its brand new-to-market illuminated portable dance-floor, The Illumilok®. The company have been operating from its purpose built factory since 2009 and are one of the last remaining UK-based manufacturers producing portable dance floors.  It currently employs 28 full time staff at its Castle Donington base.

Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Stephen Green, gave a key note speech renewing the call for the whole business community, including banks, accountancy and legal firms, trade networks and other business intermediaries, to support the government in persuading more firms to export their goods and services.

Lord Green said:

“Research has shown that SMEs who export experience both increased growth and efficiency which is why we want to attract a further 100,000 SMEs into international trade across the UK. There are world-class businesses out there who could be exporting and others who could be spreading their wings further. The calibre of the local Export for Growth prize finalists announced today highlights the creativity and innovation of firms across the East Midlands. I’d like to give my congratulations to all ten firms who have made it through to the final stages.”

Peter Hogarth, Regional Director for UKTI East Midlands said:

"Companies who export tend to be more innovative than those who don't."

“This prize is a great opportunity for companies who have an exciting, innovative idea for a product that they want to sell overseas. It’s also a chance to test that idea out among their peers and in front of the experts, while getting advice and help along the way. The final pitches will be held in front of a live audience of 100 from the business community, so will be a true test of their ability to be able to sell an idea as well getting feedback as to whether that idea will work in the global marketplace. “

Roy Harris, HSBC's Regional Commercial Director, added:

“We at HSBC forecast that UK international trade will grow by 60% over the next 15 years so it is encouraging that companies in the East Midlands are positioning themselves to take advantage of this opportunity. There are some exciting and innovative export propositions from a diverse, creative and economically vibrant region.”

Mark Shires, Senior Partner at PwC in the East Midlands, said:

“It is great to see so many exciting export ideas coming from local companies. This a positive sign that the region’s business community is positioning itself for growth despite the challenging economic climate, and we are looking forward to advising and supporting the winning business after the outcome of the competition is announced on 29 March.”

Mark Spofforth, ICAEW Deputy President, said:

“For small businesses many of the high-growth export opportunities are now outside our traditional markets like Europe and the US. The BICs and CIVETs can look difficult to crack, but UKTI’s ‘International Trade, An Accountant’s Guide’ sponsored by ICAEW, can help, as can UKTI’s OMIS service and Passport to Export package for new exporters."

“Spain, which has been at the centre of the Eurozone crisis, has managed to increase exports 10% since 2007, largely through targeting non-traditional market. Spain has also maintained its market share with traditional markets like Germany. If Spain can do it, what’s stopping us?”

The event is part of a long-term initiative to encourage professional organisations to play their part in increasing the number of SME exporters from around 20 per cent to 25 per cent, in line with European competitors.

Around 150 delegates attended on the day with representatives from trade associations, banks, accountancy and legal firms, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Chambers of Commerce, regional and private sector networks.


If you are based in the East Midlands region and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact

UKTI East Midlands

Tel: 0845 052 4001


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