A delegation of businesses from across Sheffield City Region will be heading to Poland this week as part of a Department for International Trade Northern Powerhouse trade mission.
The trip to Warsaw, taking place from Tuesday, 21 November to Friday 24 November, will highlight the key opportunities for businesses in the advanced manufacturing sector, while also showcasing Northern expertise in Poland.
Given the 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.
Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “In Sheffield City Region we grab each opportunity and make the most of it, whatever the size of the company, whatever its sector and whatever its ambition.
“We do this daily with domestic and international business partners alike, and the level of Sheffield City Region involvement in this trade mission is testament to that. We have a strong business ethic and our approach is simple, straightforward and pragmatic.
“With everyone pulling together, and a significant sense of community, we are achieving transformational change and building a thriving, super-connected and successful economy. This is helping to attract, retain and develop skills in the region which are so important for the SCR’s sustainable growth.”
Marian Sudbury, Director of Exports & Investment for the Northern Powerhouse, said: “As an international economic department, our global export promotion activity allows us to identify the sector-market combinations that present the greatest opportunities for business. Naturally, advanced manufacturing features highly in this area.
“Trade missions allow us to showcase Northern expertise and encourage companies to develop business overseas in a structured and supportive environment. The mission to Poland will give delegates insight into the Polish market and facilitate networking opportunities to help businesses to reach their export potential.”
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.
A total of five Sheffield City Region-based companies will participate in the 18-company mission, and they will be supported by delegates of the Sheffield City Region Executive Team.
Those companies are 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.
Anne Wilson MBE, managing director at Numill, said: “Poland is a new market for us but we are excited to investigate the prospects that come from the country’s strong manufacturing base.
“In particular, rail is a big spend area in Poland and our experience means we could foster good collaboration with the right people.
“Automotive is also strong in the market and, with our strong track record in the sector, we see significant potential.”
The programme includes networking events, one-to-one company meetings and site visits.