A Shropshire firm which designs and makes mechanical steps for minibuses and ambulances has taken on extra staff and is set to double its export sales this year.
AVS Steps, based in Whixall, is hopeful of securing new orders for its products, which also appear in community transport and taxis to help elderly and disabled people with access.
Husband and wife directors Keith and Karen Clarke set up the company, which now has 14 employees, in 1994.
As AVS Steps has around 95 per cent of the UK market share, Keith and Karen turned to overseas markets to expand the business.
They joined UK Trade & Investment's Passport initiative - a scheme that gives new exporters the training, planning and ongoing support they need to succeed overseas in October 2003, and have recently completed the programme.
Through Passport, the company benefited from support including a free business health check; an export workshop; assistance in drawing up an international strategy and match-funding of up to £3,000 to implement the strategy. It also received quality training and mentoring advice; access to UK Trade & Investment services and Government funding, plus membership of Midlands World Trade Forum, the regional export club.
Mr Clarke said: "The Passport funding was hugely important because it enabled us to exhibit at the Rehecare show in Dusseldorf last November. We had a magnificent stand, which was much more prominent than we could have afforded otherwise.
"This helped us to get into the German market, and we are now dealing directly with Daimler-Chrysler and due to open an office in Dusseldorf next January.
"We are also exporting to Switzerland and Luxembourg, and have just appointed distributors in Canada and Australia."