A recycling company from Staffordshire and a high performance sports equipment business from Warwickshire bid for national recognition of their export achievements at a Gala Awards event in Birmingham this week.
West Midlands nominees will be vying with competition from all over the country to win the National Passport Award at the Institute of Export Annual Gala Awards Dinner, taking place at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham today.
Sponsored by UK Trade & Investment, the government organisation that provides support services for UK companies engaged in overseas trade, the winner will have to demonstrate how its trade strategy has brought real results and how it is planning to build on its success so far.
Nuneaton-based UK Gear was introduced to Passport as it prepared to launch a new, high performance running shoe, developed in conjunction with the British Army.
adviser. The company is now looking for new, larger premises for its team of 11 employees and has plans to extend recycling activities to include plastics and rubber. The two companies were put forward for the national contest following their earlier success in the West Midlands regional Passport competition.
Doug Mahoney, international trade director for UK Trade & Investment in the West Midlands, said: "This is a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the dynamic and innovative enterprises who join the Passport initiative."
Four awards will be announced at today's ceremony, the finale of the Institute of Export Annual Conference and Exhibition, entitled Winning in Today's International Markets. The awards are for Professionalism in International Trade, Export Training, New Exporter of the Year and the National Passport to Export Award. The conference is supported by Barclays and UK Trade and Investment.
Already selling to the US and looking to expand into Germany and Japan, the company worked with its UKTI international trade adviser and Passport mentor to plan its strategy, research target markets and tender for trial orders of the new shoe with the German military.
News that UK Gear has clinched the deal makes the future look even healthier for the company. Last year's turnover nearly tripled in nine months since launching the shoe, the increase in business has meant taking on more staff and it is now looking for larger premises to cater for its expanding warehouse requirements.
From its base at Weston, Staffordshire Textiles UK has raced ahead from a standing start on joining Passport in April 2004 to become one of the largest independent textile recyclers in the country, exporting all clothing, shoes and linen it collects to markets throughout Eastern Europe.
Support from UKTI through the Passport scheme has given the company access to market visits and reports and advice from their international trade