Northern Powerhouse businesses say bonjour to global exporting with Paris trade mission

Pictured are Tristan Cowell, right, managing director of IC Innovations and Pete Sorsby, investment manager, Enterprise Ventures

A number of Yorkshire businesses visited the renowned international lifestyle trade show, Maison & Objet, in Paris as part of a Northern Powerhouse trade mission to explore export opportunities.

Organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT), the mission saw 15 of the region’s businesses meet prospective importers, distributors and buyers from across the globe.

The biannual four-day event is the flagship international event for the home decor, interior design, architecture and culture sectors. Yorkshire and the Humber businesses met with agents; attended workshops and seminars on doing business in France; and visited Parisian boutiques and department stores to gather insight into doing business in the country.

For Sheffield-based IC Innovations, a product and packaging designer, the event was an opportunity to explore a new country and market.

Tristan Cowell, managing director of IC Innovations, said: “The trade mission to Paris gave us a unique insight into a new market. France continues to push boundaries in design but our trip showed they still want British goods.

“By attending practical workshops, we gathered insight on the logistics of exporting to France, as well as the softer side of exporting, such as the differences in business culture and trends.

“We have worked with DIT for the past few years, but this was our first trade mission. We’re now developing a formal exporting strategy with the guidance of our local DIT adviser in line with our business model for growth and expansion into new markets.”

Mark Robson, regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber at the Department for International Trade, said: “This trade mission was a great opportunity for businesses across the Northern Powerhouse to learn about a new marketplace, meet with specialists and more importantly, build networks and speak face-to-face with valuable contacts.

“In the 12 months to September 2017, businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber exported £16.4 billion worth of goods, making up five per cent of the UK total.

“We know exporting to new markets is not without its barriers, but we have a team of 27 dedicated advisers in the Yorkshire and the Humber, ready to work with businesses to overcome these and help ensure a successful exporting journey. Anyone thinking of exporting to new marketplaces should get in touch and find out more about how we can help.”

As part of its Exporting is GREAT campaign, DIT is currently showcasing 30+ UK businesses – from a range of sectors and regions – to inspire and support firms up and down the country to export.

Businesses looking for support should contact 0300 365 1000 or email They can also visit which gives UK businesses access to millions of pounds’ worth of potential overseas business, helping them start or increase exporting.

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