JAI Engineers UK Ltd, an advanced high-tech ceramic products manufacturer from the West Midlands, realised it needed to increase its international presence to remain competitive both in Europe and further afield.

The company invests heavily in research and development and works in partnership with companies and manufacturers around the world to provide cost-effective solutions to companies both in the UK and overseas.

“The company has seen steady growth year-on-year,” says Jai Lala, Managing Director at JAI Engineers.

“During this time we had fully explored the UK market and undertaken some basic exploration of Europe, but recognised that to develop as a business we would need to develop a robust export strategy.

“We identified European countries such as Norway and Sweden, along with Brazil, US, Canada, India and China as potential target areas, however, knowing where to start investigating these markets was difficult.”

To help JEL extend its international reach, UKTI provided access to a range of advice and grants.

One of the support programmes available to JEL was the West Midlands Business Export project, which has been set up to increase the number and competitiveness of West Midland SMEs operating overseas.

A key element of this project is the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant, which is available to eligible SMEs who are looking to increase their international presence.

JEL used the grant to make research visits and explore the markets first hand.

“Our focus has been on visiting Canada, Germany, India, China and Sweden, which has provided us with essential intelligence on how each country conducts business, how our products may need to be diversified and the potential of new partnerships that will enable our business to develop,” says Jai.

He continues, “The export side of the business now accounts for over seventy per cent of JEL’s turnover, which has more than doubled since we started thinking about exporting.”

In addition to the ERDF funding, JEL has received further support from UKTI and is currently on its flagship Gateway to Global Growth programme, which works with companies who are already exporting overseas.

“Being able to access funding and receive guidance and mentoring from export professionals has enabled us to explore our target markets in a more structured way.”

“We aim to grow our export business by a further 30-50 per cent and are already expanding the business by recruiting an additional technical manager to sustain the increase in business,” added Jai.

For further information on the West Midlands Business Export project and to find out if you are eligible for our grants call 02476 236406