Since launching SimVenture, in October 2006 this York-based company with just 5 UK employees has gone from strength to strength. It has a network covering over 24 countries across the globe and annual turnover in the region of £300,000, of which one quarter/ £75,000 is from export sales alone.
The product is a business simulation, which allows people to set up and run their own virtual company. With over 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, Managing Director Peter Harrington knows a great deal about running a business, and set up SimVenture with his brother Paul to offer an alternative way to help people learn about the subjects of business and entrepreneurship.
As an engaging and absorbing resource, SimVenture puts the user at the heart of the learning experience.
After its launch in late 2006, SimVenture won national awards and proved a major success in the UK education sector. With the international appeal of websites, the company was soon receiving enquiries from the global education community about its software. A chance meeting with another supplier at the international educational technology event ‘BETT’ at Olympia in London in January 2008 resulted in the recommendation of UKTI’s support services. Of the process now, Peter says “it was absolute sense to go and work with these people [UKTI] as they helped share the risk.”
From this recommendation Peter quickly made contact with UKTI and a meeting was arranged for February 2008. For SimVenture there were three main areas in which they needed some support to enter the international market effectively: 1) Administration, 2) Finance and, most importantly and 3) Agent Networks
Peter wanted to put things into practice and go visit the market overseas as quickly as possible. SimVenture had few issues in terms of export other than the agent networks; without a bulky product to sell and transport there were no major logistic concerns. Downloadable software is very mobile indeed. And so in this situation, SimVenture was able to move quite quickly into the international market..
Industry: Education & Training
Peter describes the UKTI support with developing the agent networks as “clearing the way for your own future path”. UKTI, through the and one to one support offered by International Trade Advisor Peter Tweddle, provided the detail as well as the practical, hands on experience, supplying for example a standard template agreement for agents and distributors which proved to be a vital tool when SimVenture appointed its first agents.
Venturing into the international market is not without its challenges, Peter cautions, “global markets are an opportunity, but also a threat doing business internationally is an evolving process, and you have to be ready to learn”. The SimVenture team learned through a process of trial and error to get their negotiations with overseas agents right, but they see great value of being in the position to be able to make mistakes and learn from them.
In Mexico business is booming since the SimVenture team were approached by education marketing company Simuladores Online in 2008. Simuladores Online were so interested in the SimVenture product they travelled to London to meet with the team at the BETT event. UKTI services based in Mexico actually supported their trip, and through the grant were also able to support SimVenture to travel back to Mexico and meet representatives from the company to discuss the market for SimVenture in Mexico and deliver training to staff. Peter describes the UKTI support in Mexico as “instrumental” in getting the right people together for this.
If you are based in the Yorkshire and Humber region and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact:
Tel: 0300 365 1000