Companies from across the city region have established new business relationships in Poland, following a successful trade mission.
Five businesses from across Sheffield City Region were in Warsaw last week as part of a Department for International Trade Northern Powerhouse trade mission, supported by delegates from the city region’s executive team.
The companies involved were Sheffield-based Numill Ltd, Dinnington-based Macalloy Ltd, Straaltechniek Ltd which has a site close to the M1 motorway in Shiregreen, Dronfield-based Armeg Ltd and Cerex Ltd, based in Nether Edge, Sheffield.
Neil MacDonald, board member at the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This mission represented a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the Sheffield City Region. Our Trade and Investment Plan emphasises the importance of focusing our activity on our distinctive capabilities as a region, and there are none stronger than our manufacturing reputation.
“There are clear export opportunities in Poland and the wider Central and Eastern European region so the mission was an excellent fit.
“We have got excellent international connections with Poland via Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the large Polish diaspora community that resides in the city region, so we have solid foundations to build our two-way trade on.
“I look forward to working with partners to develop this bilateral trade further and supporting our companies to do successful business in Poland.”
Anne Wilson MBE, managing director at Numill, added: “The trade mission to Poland has shown the benefits of bringing companies and people together.
“When people talk, new relationships are formed and existing ones galvanised. Sharing knowledge, contacts and experiences has been absolutely invaluable.
“Opportunities have been identified and explored during the mission which we are quietly confident will bring closer ties between the businesses that travelled together. We are also confident that the mission will lead to closer business connections in the Polish manufacturing sector.”
Poland is currently seeking investment in its manufacturing sector, including rail, where Sheffield City Region has significant strong capabilities. The region is also home to firms who supply into the rail industry, some of which are participating in the mission.
The trip, which took place from Tuesday 21 November to Friday 24 November, aimed to highlight the key opportunities for businesses in the advanced manufacturing sector, while also showcasing Northern expertise in Poland. The programme included networking events, one-to-one company meetings and site visits.
Graham Ward, managing director at Straaltechniek Ltd, said: “The trip to Poland was an eye-opener for me after realising how big the potential aerospace sector is becoming.
“The mission was also extremely useful in terms of networking with the other participants, enabling all of us to understand more clearly how other companies approach both new and existing foreign markets.”
Minister for Trade and Export Promotion, Baroness Rona Fairhead, said: “I am pleased that the mission to Poland was so successful, and that the companies in attendance were able to make valuable connections with their Polish counterparts which will increase their prospects in the country.
“As the Department for International Trade, trade missions to markets around the world are a key part of the service we deliver to help businesses progress in their export journey.”
Given Sheffield City Region’s specialisms in advanced manufacturing and engineering, Poland is an important target market, as well as being a gateway to the broader Eastern and Central European region.
Latest figures available show that, in 2015, Sheffield City Region exported £71m worth of goods to Poland. This was the city region’s 13th largest export market for goods but, given existing international connections via Doncaster Sheffield Airport – which flies to six Polish cities – and a strong Polish community resident in the city region, there is potential to trade significantly more.