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FOCUS FEATURE


INTERNATIONAL TRADE This is what gives the Loughborough-based firm its


mission statement of “making quality healthcare an affordable and accessible reality throughout the world”, enabling it to export to 120 countries over the past three decades. Former Prime Minister Theresa May hailed it as the “best


of British” when accompanied by Dr Kotecha during a trade mission to India in 2016, and Morningside is a past winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade. Dr Kotecha says: “A lot of companies would go straight


to Europe and the US, but I saw bigger opportunities in other countries. Over the past 25 years, we’ve been the leading UK company dedicated to supplying medicines for international aid. “If there’s an earthquake somewhere in the world, the


World Health Organisation or Unicef come to us to buy the medicines, so we export to every corner of the globe. “The UK has been so reliant on Europe and Ireland for


many years but there’s so many opportunities in middle to low-income markets. “As their economies grow, we can sell more into them.


Just look at China – its economy has grown to the extent that there’s more people buying Louis Vuitton there than anywhere else in the world.” Dr Kotecha’s knack for international trading – he admits


exporting refrigerated products into countries with sweltering temperatures like Tanzania and Sierra Leone isn’t easy – have earned him plenty of recognition. He sits on the boards of the Leicester and Leicestershire


Local Enterprise Partnership and CBI East Midlands Council, chairs the Chamber’s Brexit Advisory Group, and is an “export champion” for the Department for International Trade. He’s an avid believer in UK plc continuing to invest,


innovate and recruit during tough times – the Morningside group of companies have added 15 senior people to its 180- strong workforce in 2020, including a new CEO, CFO and COO – and says companies should be prepared to diversify for different markets. “The opportunity for us to export as a nation is huge,” he


adds. “Brand UK is about our ethics and ways of doing business. As we prepare to leave the EU, companies should be prepared to diversify to different markets.”


of Artisan Biscuits


DIVE DEEP INTO YOUR MARKETS John Siddall, co-owner


Learning the subtle cultural differences of markets has been key to the success of Artisan Biscuits, believes co-owner John Siddall. He found this out when the Ashbourne-


based business, which dates back to the 1930s but only began exporting in 2001, started selling its My Favourite Bear brand of “fun biscuits” overseas. In western markets like the US and


Australia, the bear-shaped flavoured snacks and their cartoon packaging have been targeted at parents of toddlers. But in Japan, where they are sold in


the premium Plaza Style department stores, the main customers have instead been so-called “office ladies” – women aged 18 to 40 who shop for items making them feel “younger”.


‘This year, 1.3 million packs of biscuits, crackers, cookies and toasts will be exported, accounting for 40% of sales’


International trade advisors at the Chamber can help businesses realise their exporting ambitions through support services and staff training courses. The ChamberCustoms brokerage service helps firms


to get goods across borders and the expanding consultancy service provides advice on activities such as setting up overseas subsidiaries, foreign exchange, and reviews for customs compliance and freight. Meanwhile, the Enterprise Europe Network team


assists the region’s most innovative companies in creating partnerships and opportunities in Europe and beyond.


To contact the Chamber’s international team, call 0333 320 0333 (option 4) or email international@emc-dnl.co.uk


74 business network December 2020/January 2021 “In some countries, the whole concept


of children’s biscuits has no meaning,” adds John. “We sell them in Germany but in Denmark they don’t have this market. “What’s interesting is the East is a


sweet region but the West is a predominantly savoury region. “Norway has no sweet culture at all so


there’s virtually no chocolate.” As with cheese and crackers, Artisan


Biscuits complements its Bath-based parent company, the Fine Cheese Co. But while the companies – which


together have a £10m turnover and employ 200 people – will target many


locations in unison, cultural complexities dictate this isn’t always the case. John says: “In South-East Asia, there’s


markets where people don’t eat much cheese, so our biscuits that are supposed to go well with cheese don’t get many sales there – whereas these are big sectors in the UK and Scandinavia. “We only put English and Japanese languages on the packets in China because they think Chinese products aren’t very good quality, and identify everything from England and Japan as good quality.” In all those markets, ranges like My


Favourite Bear, Elegant & English, Grate Britain and The Fine Cookie Co will most likely be found in high-end retailers and hotel chains – whether it’s David Jones in Australia, Market Kurly in South Korea, Meny in Norway, La Rinascente in Italy, El Corte Ingles in Spain, The Fresh Market in the US or Taj Hotels in India. A reputation for excellence – “there’s


nobody else in the world who makes higher quality products than we do because we handbake using the best quality ingredients, and we use them generously” –has helped carry Artisan Biscuits beyond these shores. This year, 1.3 million packs of biscuits,


crackers, cookies and toasts will be exported, accounting for 40% of sales. Half of these are to the EU, trailed by North America and South-East Asia. “The Middle East is growing and Japan


is our second biggest market after the US, while South Korea is moving up extremely fast too,” says John, whose company also sold heavily to airlines pre-Covid. “It tends to be the affluent and most


sophisticated markets and we’ll be in the centre of the biggest cities.”


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