Trade links forged with Kuwait through centre

Richard May, left, innovation director at Fareham Innovation Centre, and Martin Hall, chief executive, Kuwait British Business Centre
Richard May, left, innovation director at Fareham Innovation Centre, and Martin Hall, chief executive, Kuwait British Business Centre
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COMPANIES across Hampshire are benefitting from specialised export advice regarding Kuwait.

The Middle Eastern country is one of UK’s historic and strategically important trading partners, with a population of about 4.2m.

Latest official figures state that the UK exported £562m of goods to Kuwait in 2013 and £536m worth of services in the previous year.

Martin Hall, chief executive of the Kuwait British Business Centre (KBBC), working in association with UK Trade & Investment, held a series of meetings with entrepreneurs at innovation centres operated by Oxford Innovation in the Solent region.

The drop-in sessions were held at Fareham Innovation Centre, by Daedalus airport, Lee-on-the-Solent.

They were organised by the centre’s innovation director, Richard May, who previously set up a business in Kuwait and lived there for nearly five years.

One of the attendees was centre occupier Peter Eales of MRO Insyte, which specialises in the maintenance, repair and operations.

The firm, run and owned by Peter, was recently awarded a contract by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce and Industry to visit manufacturing plants and benchmark inventory efficiencies and international standards for the Kingdom.

Peter said: ‘There is clear potential in Kuwait. Martin at KBBC provided interesting insights into how MRO Insyte can get a foothold and I’ll be looking to explore further.’

Richard said: ‘One of the key roles of the innovation centre is to help our customers access on-the-ground expertise in countries they want to do business in; Martin’s sessions were an example of this service.’

Martin said: ‘Kuwait welcomes business from the UK and there are already more than 100 UK companies, franchises and companies with agents operating in the country.

‘They include familiar names such as Shell, BP, Boots, Harvey Nichols, Coffee Republic, Mulberry and Waitrose, and there are around 6,000 British nationals living in Kuwait.

‘The export of services is a growing area, particularly in consultancy and financial services transactions, and there is no reason why relevant occupiers at Oxford Innovation’s centres cannot be part of this international trade success story.’