Scientific approach

How with help from UKTI Yorkshire, Scientific Laboratory Supplies are taking a strategic role in identifying market entry strategies and suitable business opportunities overseas.

Since it began trading in 1991, Hessle-based company Scientific Laboratory Supplies has grown to be the UK’s largest independent supplier of laboratory equipment, chemicals and consumables. The company employs over 100 people and has an annual turnover in excess of £26 million, with approximately 14-15% coming from its export activities in Africa and the Middle East. The company supplies scientific, laboratory and educational equipment and consumables to international clients including hospitals, research institutes, universities and environmental laboratories. They do this either directly from their base here in Yorkshire and the Humber or through their network of distribution partners.

Export has been firmly on the agenda for Scientific Laboratory Supplies for almost 12 years now, but until a few years ago was not so successful, with lots of effort being put into too many markets. Richard Scott, Trade and International Sales Manager, explained that a few years ago export activities were re-evaluated and the company started to take a more strategic approach.

To help focus their approach, Richard enrolled on the Passport to Export Programme with International Distributor Manager Charlie Fullerton. Looking back, Charlie explained, “when we approached UKTI we were very busy doing too much. We were going after markets where we were unlikely to be successful and it was difficult to keep on top of the work and follow everything up”.

Passport to Export was really helpful for Richard and Charlie to be able to take a step back and re-focus their activities.

The seminars and workshops reinforced their existing knowledge of exporting and reminded them how to go about things in the right way, such as through their Export Communications Review which critically analysed the website and identified key areas on which to improve.

The Middle East had always been a market that they wished to develop, mainly due to its relative close proximity to, and track record with the UK compared with other countries overseas and the fact they are quite technologically advanced in the scientific field. Through the support of UKTI, Richard and Charlie chose to focus their efforts on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait in the Middle East.

Company: Scientific Laboratory Supplies

Industry: Healthcare


Through a series of seminars covering distributor management, customs and VAT and also e-marketing and web-trading, the main impact of the programme was that it helped to identify and make decisions on the distributor network that Richard and Charlie were trying to develop. A key way in which this was achieved was then through attending an exhibition in Oman in Spring of 2011. Support from UKTI for this was incredibly helpful, meeting a significant proportion of the costs for travel and attendance.

The exhibition was useful as it allowed the company to give real support to their distributor and put up a united front in order to develop the initial contacts and networks to start growing the market.

“UKTI helped us to understand our overseas markets and concentrate our energy on real business opportunities”.


If you are based in the Yorkshire and Humber region and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact:

UKTI Yorkshire

Tel: 0300 365 1000


If you are based in one of the other UK Regions find your nearest International Trade Advisor via our postcode search facility in Contacts in your region.

Sectors: Science
Countries: Middle East, Oman, and Yorkshire and Humberside
Topics: Getting Started
Export Action Plan