Baltics boost for North East firms

The Baltics has proved to be a boon for North East firms exploring export potential in Lithuania.

A nine-strong delegation of companies across the region took part in a market visit to Lithuania earlier this month (October) organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the British Embassy in the capital Vilnius.

The visit aimed to give companies a chance to find out about what is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe and proved a resounding success with three firms having already signed new contracts and another three with new business lined up.

Lissa Balmer, UK Trade & Investment’s International Trade Adviser who led the delegation, said:

“It’s fantastic news and we’re thrilled that the market visit has been so rewarding. We know Lithuania offers a lot of potential and we worked hard to identify potential clients for the companies that joined us on the visit.

“We’re delighted that our efforts and the hard work and commitment from the companies themselves have paid dividends and the positive feedback we’ve had from the delegates has been fantastic. It clearly illustrates that taking part in a market visit is worth the investment in both time and resources.”

Graeme Jordan, a professional marketer and CV writer who runs Graeme Jordan CV, in Newcastle, was keen to establish a local presence in Lithuania having already prepared CVs for people across six continents. He explained:

“My aim was to identify high quality recruiters who are serious about their level of service to candidates and are open to doing things in a slightly different way. I saw an opportunity to add something extra to what they do, but it requires mutual trust and there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact when developing that trust.

“I am very happy with the results of the market visit. I didn’t need to see a lot of companies, I just needed to choose wisely and make each meeting count. I’m now in regular contact with two recruitment companies and have already done my first CV for one of their candidates, with more on the way.”

Mike Carter is Managing Director of Tyn Can Learning, in Newcastle which has developed numerous national and international, commercial and educational partnerships as a provider of educational products, training and services. He said:

“Our vision in Lithuania is to provide collaborative support to educational establishments including The Education Development Centre, schools, colleges and universities.

“Our Lithuanian experience has been very positive and we are now putting together a week-long English language experience for a travel company in Vilnius and in February we will be hosting a group of teachers from Vilnius on an EU-funded job-shadowing initiative in the North East.

“I’ve also been asked to run a seminar, ‘Creating a more effective learning experience using ICT – Lessons from the UK’, at an annual education conference in December where we will also be exhibiting.”

Phil Butler is Managing Director of Marine Forensics Ltd, Newcastle, which provides a range of services covering investigations, assets tracing and due diligence issues. Phil said:

“We were delighted with the potential clients that the Embassy staff found on our behalf. We had a series of meetings which led to the prospect of three maritime and transport investigations, so we were thrilled with the results.

“We can see the potential now for future business and will be opening a new office in Vilnius, Lithuania in December.”

Andrew Bowen, Group CEO, E-achieve Ltd, Newcastle, one of North East and Yorkshire employability providers that is supporting youth into employment, said:

“The reason for the visit was to explore best practice of youth into work and also opportunities of working together with partners in Lithuania.

“The trip was very fruitful, we spoke to a Director of European Social Fund who explained there is a need to support youth into employment and we have already identified a strategic partner with a local college which would like to roll out a youth programme. The Ministry for Labour were encouraging of EU partners working together and we also had a positive meeting with the ESF Director in Lithuania who is keen to hear ideas especially in light of the European Youth Conference of the Lithuanian Presidency held September.

“We could not have visited at a better time and UKTI facilitated the meetings at a very high standard which ensured the right decision makers were readily available.”

Lissa added:

“These are great examples of companies who have already taken up the export for growth challenge and we hope they will inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

“And next month we’ll be hosting another Export Week, with one of the highlights of the week being the ExploreExport roadshow, which will visit eight regions – including the North East.

“ExploreExport will bring more than 130 experts from 70 countries to offer one-to-one advice to companies – including Lithuania, so I would urge anyone interested in finding out more about this market to come and join us.”

Situated in the heart of the Baltic Sea region, Lithuania boasts a world-leading ICT infrastructure with Europe’s fastest – and the world’s second fastest – internet. It is also the world’s number one in terms of mobile telephone subscribers per head of population and has Europe’s most comprehensive network of public Internet access points.


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Countries: North East England
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