John Jenkinson

International Trade Adviser, John Jenkinson.

A team of export experts are extending the reach of Tees Valley firms operating in the digital healthcare sector.

Teesside has particular strength in the field, with a wealth of blossoming technology companies, and the Department for International Trade (DIT) North East is supercharging the sector, by providing a gateway into lucrative foreign markets.

International Trade Adviser, John Jenkinson, is leading the “Stockton to Singapore” trade mission, in February, that will introduce firms to the region and help create soft landings in this key eastern market.

The digital health market is expected to reach US$379bn by 2024, and the Tees Valley boasts companies breaking new ground in robotics, smart hospitals, medical record data analysis, decision marking optimisation and predictive programs.

John said: “Singapore is a doorway through which companies can gain a foothold in extremely dynamic far eastern markets. There is, without doubt, an appetite for the innovation being pioneered here in the Tees Valley and the DIT is here to help our companies make those connections that could open up a wealth of opportunities.

“The trade mission is full and it was fantastic to see how many businesses signed up immediately to a trip that will allow them to dip their toes into an extremely exciting market. There is much to be gained in exploring eastern markets with a great deal of appetite for UK services and goods.”

Stockton To Singapore is part-funded through the 'Expanding Tees Valley Presence in International Markets Project', which is part of the ERDF 2014-2020 funding programme, delivered by the North East England Chamber of Commerce.

It arrives at the perfect time for firms looking to start exporting or expanding their overseas portfolio, with current exchange rates making UK products and services extremely attractive. There is also the benefit of a common language and strong historical ties between the two countries.

John added: “The commonalities between the way businesses in the UK and Singapore operate are really beneficial with similar business and legal practices and comparable technical standards.

“Singapore’s proximity to major Asia Pacific economies is a huge benefit for UK firms, which is why it remains the UK’s largest trade partner in south-east Asia.”

Singapore is considered a launchpad into huge Asian markets, with 50% of the world’s population within a six-hour flight, and boasting the fourth largest global financial centre. It is also Asia’s only AAA credit rating from all three agencies.

Director of International Trade, Julie Underwood, said: “There are many benefits to a DIT trade mission beyond the subsidised travel expenses. Our international trade advisors work hard to support companies in developing international marketing strategies and enhancing sales skills. We also provide a tailored in-market itinerary that suits the requirements of an individual business, and we deliver matchmaking with potential clients.

“Our hands-on support will help businesses prepare for operating in different cultures while generating leads and prospective partners to meet during the visit. In short, we do everything we can to help our native businesses succeed in foreign markets.”

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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