Case study

Yorkshire based YorPower expand trade to Iraq

With help from UKTI’s Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS), YorPower now export their quality diesel generator systems to Iraq.


YorPower had already experienced some export success. Their usual strategy was to select export markets where their largest competitors were already established. Ben Whitmarsh, YorPower’s International Sales Director, decided to try a different approach.

UKTI helped to break into a lucrative new market

YorPower’s initial research had indicated that Iraq could be a potential market. However, they wanted further information before gambling the business’s resources in a new market.

YorPower had worked with UKTI for many years, enjoying the support of their International Trade Advisor. UKTI suggested that YorPower would benefit from the Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS). The EMRS provides professional advice and funding to help businesses understand the dynamics of a potential overseas markets. A nationwide team of professional Research Advisers are available to provide support.

Ben was contacted by Richard Gilbert, the region’s Research Adviser. With Richard’s help, YorPower were able to:

  • understand whether they should enter the Iraq market at all
  • decide what sort of representation they needed in the market
  • develop their unique selling point (USP) for the market
  • determine which sector they should target
  • arrange a trip to Iraq

Ben travelled to Iraq in August 2013 and spent 5 days talking with distributors and other market experts. The matched-funding from the EMRS enabled YorPower to stay longer than would have otherwise been possible. This allowed them to reach a wider audience and spend longer building a relationship with each person.

Ben found that by offering a suitable distributor support package they could compete directly with the larger companies. They found that many distributors in Iraq wanted a quality product offered by an independent manufacturer. This became YorPower’s USP for Iraq.

Success in Iraq

YorPower selected a suitable partner and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Shortly after the research trip they received their first order to supply a significant public sector project. Customer confidence resulting from this initial contract led to broader private sales.

Ben said:

It’s taken two and a half years from the outset, but it was the right decision to enter the market in this strategic manner. The EMRS really made us think about what our objectives were for our research visit.

Rather than simply jump on a plane and see what you can find out, having someone to ‘hold your hand’ and guide you through the research process makes sure you find out exactly what you need to create a successful launch strategy.

About YorPower

Based in Yorkshire, YorPower was established in 1989. Initially, its focus was on installation, maintenance and servicing. New ownership in 2009 expanded the business into production, turning it into one of the largest UK manufacturers of diesel generators.

Fast facts

Company: YorPower

Industry: Power

Target markets: Iraq

UKTI service: Export Marketing Research Scheme


Published 4 June 2015