News story

Trade minister encourages Surrey companies to boost their exports

Lord Livingston, Minister for Trade and Investment, meets 3 exporters who are taking steps to increase their international growth.

From left at SSTL: Lord Livingston; Professor Sir Martin Sweeting OBE, FRS, FREng, Executive Chairman, SSTL; Matt Perkins, CEO, SSTL; Lewis Scott, Regional Director, UKTI South East

From left at SSTL: Lord Livingston; Professor Sir Martin Sweeting OBE, FRS, FREng, Executive Chairman, SSTL; Matt Perkins, CEO, SSTL; Lewis Scott, Regional Director, UKTI South East

Lord Livingston spent a day in Surrey on 28th August 2014 meeting 3 local companies with innovative products and export ambition.

Lord Livingston visited lift manufacturers Sesame Access, the UK’s largest bus and coach makers Alexander Dennis Ltd and satellite makers Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).

Lord Livingston said:

Companies like Sesame Access, Surrey Satellites and Alexander Dennis are an inspiration for those who want to grow and boost their international customer base.

Expert trade advice and support from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is available to all companies to start them on the path to exporting success.

Lord Livingston also took the opportunity over lunch to meet with representatives from a number of local Medium-Sized Businesses (MSBs) and fast growing Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). He discussed how UKTI can help them through its network of international trade advisers and global experts.

Want to develop your business overseas? Arrange a face-to-face meeting with a UKTI trade adviser.

Visiting companies

Sesame Access

Byfleet based Sesame Access, founded in 1997, only began exporting 3 years ago. They make and install wheelchair accessible lifts to buildings, which have been used in places like the Barbican and Tate Britain.

Their export success began with providing architecturally-admired building access lifts to the exclusive Sothebys in Paris and the nearby Ascott Hotel.

The company is run by Alison Lyons with brother Steven.

Alison said:

We were unsure about exporting – and felt afraid of the barriers and how we would ensure we could comply with the standards overseas, but with help from UKTI we have developed the confidence we need to explore different markets and work through any problems.

This year alone, with help from UKTI, we have increased exports by 20%.

Sesame Access announced during Lord Livingston’s visit that they are on the cusp of signing new deals in Qatar, New York and across Scandinavia. This could boost their turnover by 50%. The new deals are the result of help from UKTI and the power of social media.

Overseas interest in the company peaked after a video made about their lifts went viral and received 1 million views worldwide. The short video of how the lifts work was flagged by an American radio station online, resulting in queries from across the world.

Sesame Access is now making arrangements to meet an agent in South Africa, and they are setting up an agreement with an agent in Australia.

Alexander Dennis Ltd

Lord Livingston also took a tour of the UK’s largest bus and coach manufacturer, Alexander Dennis Ltd, based in Guildford. The company has established itself as a powerful new force in the global bus sector in recent years.

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd

Lord Livingston met with representatives from Guildford based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). The company exports state of the art satellites to 50 countries across the world. It has recently secured contracts in Algeria, Kazakhstan and Taiwan. They’ve increased their turnover by more than 50% to £127.3 million in 2013 with help from UKTI.

Message to UK companies

At the end of the visit Lewis Scott, UKTI South East Regional Director, said:

He was only able to see a fraction of the export success generated by local businesses, but what came across was the strength of the exporters we have and the potential for international growth.

Almost any business has the potential to start exporting, but many need the support and confidence to do so.

I would urge businesses to get in touch and find out how UKTI can help.

Published 5 September 2014