A cutting-edge Warwickshire company has seen its overseas sales quadruple over two years - with a little help from UK Trade & Investment.
Warwick Control Technologies, of Fen End, was founded in 1999 by four University of Warwick researchers.
It specialises in automotive control system design and also provides consultancy to the automotive industry on topics such as developing electrical control units and systems.
Encouraged by sales of its automotive diagnostic software in Germany via a distributor in the market, the company turned to UK Trade & Investment's international trade team at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce for help in developing its export business.
Warwick Control Technologies joined UK Trade & Investment's Passport programme - a flagship scheme that gives new exporters the structured training, planning and ongoing support they need to succeed overseas - two years ago.
As a result, the company has benefited from a package of support.
This includes a free business health check; attending an export workshop; assistance in drawing up an international strategy and matched funding of up to £3,000 to help implement this strategy; quality training and mentoring advice; access to the full range of UK Trade & Investment services and government funding and membership of Midlands World Trade Forum, the regional export club.
Sales and marketing director Richard McLaughlin said: "We decided to join the Passport programme mainly because it provides a very cost-effective means for a small company to travel to new markets.
"We visited Japan, Korea, the US, Sweden, France and Italy, plus various other target markets in Western Europe,
with financial support from UK Trade & Investment.
"Through the contacts we made during these visits, we appointed a network of distributors, who are now selling our products in all these countries.
"Our export sales have increased fourfold to make up more than half of our annual turnover.
"As a direct result of this increase, we have taken on two additional full-time and three part-time employees, taking the total number of staff to seven.
"Through the Passport programme, we have also benefited from a number of very useful courses, such as researching export markets, and advice and support from our outside mentor, John Vanson of Wren Sales & Marketing, in Alcester."
Warwick Control Technologies is now seeking to develop further business in Japan and the US through its distributors.
Mick Page, international trade adviser based at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is a great example of a spin-out company that has taken advantage of its technological base, and worked strategically to build up its overseas network."