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BUSINESS WEST – CONNECTING BUSINESSES Community firm


wins project bid Bristol-based Superact has tapped into its international expertise to secure €2m to deliver Future DiverCities, a four-year project to promote cultural diversity across Europe and Canada. Superact, a not-for-profit community


interest company which uses music and the arts to help improve the health and well-being of communities, will lead eight partners from across Europe and Canada to deliver a programme of activity to support new and emerging artists and bring culture and creativity to the heart of communities. The project is being co-funded by


Creative Europe and was launched in Marseille in January 2017. Superact has received €2m from Creative Europe and will work with its partners to raise an additional €2m of support and sponsorship to deliver the project. Over the past nine years, Superact has


The team at Blackdown Shepherd Huts


World is flocking to shepherd’s huts A


Somerset business specialising in the creation of bespoke, traditional shepherd’s huts has captured the


imagination of customers across the globe. Blackdown Shepherd Huts was established in


2011 by Will Vickery. A carpenter by trade, Will was inspired by the heritage of these traditional farm buildings and the fact that the space could be adapted to be used in so many different ways. Will launched the business


from his garage but the combination of bespoke design and quality craftsmanship meant the business grew quickly, with his shepherd’s huts in demand from those wanting additional living and work space or unique holiday accommodation. In 2013 Will was approached by an


‘It’s been


very exciting to see the


business grow at such speed and I feel very proud’


Australian ‘glamping’ business keen to provide a piece of English countryside to its customers. With no experience of export, Will approached the Department for International Trade (DIT) for advice. DIT helps thousands of businesses every year


take their products and services to countries across the world via Exporting is Great, a government initiative to consolidate the export support available to companies. DIT offers businesses tailed support and


advice on how to start exporting or increase the amount of products and services sold overseas via a network of international trade advisers and digital hub www.great.gov.uk. Hilary Charman, international trade adviser,


DIT said: “We offer an accessible solution to smaller businesses interested in taking their products to a wider market. Export doesn’t just


developed from delivering small, community projects in Bristol and the South West to leading projects across the UK, in Europe and in India. Throughout this time it has worked closely with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to develop the skills and contacts needed to build an effective export strategy. Chris Knight, international trade adviser,


have to be about shipping huge quantities of products, many of the businesses we work with are exporting on a relatively small scale. Blackdown Shepherd Hut’s are the perfect example of a business using international markets to generate an additional sales income for its bespoke products.” Today export accounts for around five per cent of Blackdown Shepherd Huts business with its custom-built huts being found in Australia, the US, Africa and across Europe. And Will is keen to continue to explore the opportunities available. Will said: “Our journey into export has been a relatively


organic process driven in the first instance by enquiries from Australia and then the US. Initially it felt like a big


step to take but the advice we received from DIT helped us to understand how the process worked, they made the whole thing incredibly easy. “Exporting has offered our business a whole


new dimension, we can now confidently accept orders from overseas and we are proactively marketing our shepherd’s huts to countries across the world. We have supplied glamping pods to Australia, safari huts to Africa and a wide range of specially designed huts for use by businesses and individuals across Europe and our aim now is to become the finest provider of shepherds huts in the world.” Businesses with ambitions to export are being


encouraged to visit DIT’s new trade hub (www.great.gov.uk) where they can find practical advice and support as well as access to millions of pounds’ worth of potential overseas business.


said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of Superact’s export journey over the past nine years. Future DiverCities is an amazing initiative and to have been named as lead partner for such a prestigious project is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team. “I am constantly amazed by Superact’s


innate innovation and the energy with which they develop and deliver their programmes. I hope to be attending the launch of Future DiverCities in Marseille along with colleagues from DIT team in Paris and we are looking forward to seeing the project develop.” Future DiverCities will include artist


residencies, public performances, creativity and participatory events in each of the partner countries. Nick Smith, director, Superact said:


“Winning the bid to deliver Future DiverCities was the culmination of many years of hard work, building contacts and expertise across Europe. Future DiverCities is a unique and challenging project; working with our partners we are looking forward to establishing a European network of artists and musicians who will encourage and support creativity and innovation within our communities.”


inspire


Members of the Superact team MAY/JUNE 2017 insight 17


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