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DIT/UKEF helping Bedfordshire companies export

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 06 Sep 2021

Jo Archer (UKEF) and Mathilde Murphy (DIT) talk about some positive stories behind exporting in Bedfordshire and some of the support the government can offer to companies looking to explore new markets.

Jo Archer Headshot
Jo Archer is the local representative of the government department UK Export Finance.

I am very much in the heart of Bedfordshire, I live here, and I have represented UKEF in this county for almost 7 years. The success of businesses here is very important to me. So, I wanted to be able to share some great work we are already doing and, highlight the services we can provide to businesses looking to develop/grow their overseas trade.

There are some hugely innovative companies here in the county, whose products are very attractive to many overseas destinations. One of the biggest barriers to exporting, is the concern about getting paid, or financing the contract, which could have a detrimental effect on working capital.
We have already helped several SMEs fulfil their export contracts, from manufacture of large industrial machinery to selling multiple components in a large supply chain. We have also helped businesses cover the risk of not getting paid in challenging markets, using our own credit insurance policy (EXIP). We are active in most sectors and support the sale of goods and services across the world by guaranteeing bank facilities.

My sole purpose in my role as an Export Finance Manager is to ensure that no viable export fails for lack of finance. There are two ways I do this. Firstly, I work alongside your bank where there is an opportunity to access our working capital and bond support schemes. Secondly, I can sign post you to a range of lenders who may be more appropriate for your specific needs.

One local company to benefit from our support is, Bedford Pumps, who are experts in manufacturing robust pumping plant for the water industry. Bedford Pumps have supplied many dock installations from dewatering, to impounding, to ballast seawater transfers around the world. They have won their second order to supply pumps to the port of Jorf Lasfar in Morocco, to be used for a sea water extraction application. With UK Export Finance support alongside NatWest, Bedford Pumps were able to trade confidently in this market, and take on more new international contracts.

I offer free and impartial guidance, and I am looking forward to talking to more exporting companies in Bedfordshire.

Mathilde profile pic
Mathilde Murphy is a Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Export Growth Trade Adviser for Bedfordshire

I live at the border between Herts and Beds and started working at DIT in the summer of 2020 after having worked alongside DIT colleagues for over 20 years. My previous role was about helping innovative SMEs secure international global partnerships. Moving to DIT felt quite natural as my role is to support companies in the tech sector.

Tech covers so many areas of our life nowadays and applies across many key industries for Bedfordshire such as advanced manufacturing and high-performance engineering, smart and connected devices (ioT). It has been great to work with local SMEs who have solutions and products with global attraction.

I would like local companies to see me and the wider DIT East of England as their sounding board for any advice and information on exporting and selling to markets abroad. I can help open doors and facilitate introductions thanks to the network of contacts I have access to at many levels. This can be to research a new market or to find new leads to secure partnerships and international sales.

It has also been great working with companies who are interested in getting in depth strategic advice. Customers find it useful to discuss what their next steps should be and to have an independent review of what their business is at when it comes to exporting. I enjoy bouncing off ideas and collaborating with my clients and DIT colleagues to help companies achieve their goals. Sometimes I help with a quick-fix solution, sometimes a project will take months or years before coming to fruition and the sense of achievement is always rewarding.

I keep in touch with the companies I work with as I am at the receiving end of many items of news. It can be very much a case of “I saw that and thought of you” which will initiate a conversation.

The information, advice and guidance I offer is free of charge and I look forward to speaking to Bedfordshire based companies with ambition to sell internationally in the future.

Contact Jo and Mathilde now to see how they can help your business

Johanna Archer MIEx| Export Finance Manager (Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire) - UK Export Finance

Mathilde Murphy | Export Growth Trade Adviser | East of England
Department for International Trade

Topics: Department for International Trade

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