South Africa Trade Mission flies the flag for County Durham

Businesses from across County Durham and the North East are seizing the opportunity to export to South Africa by taking part in a trade mission later this month.

Organised by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, in conjunction with the Department for International Trade, the trade mission will take place in Johannesburg and Durban between September 16 and 21.

The delegation includes thirteen North East businesses from a mixture of industries including chemical, automotive and education including the following County Durham companies: One Awards, Lingotot International Limited, Thorn Lighting, High Force Research Ltd and Helix Innovations International Limited.

The aim of the mission is for delegates to build on the North East’s strong relationship with South Africa and to explore the country’s export opportunities. Delegates will begin their trip in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, with a business briefing from the Department for International Trade South Africa and a networking session at the Trade Commissioners Residence.

From there, they will travel to Durban to be hosted by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Durban KZN. The group members will also benefit from one-to-one business meetings and a visit to Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, Africa’s global manufacturing and air logistics platform.

The trade mission follows on from June this year when the South African High Commissioner, Her Excellency Nomatemba “Thembi” Tambo, and Sharon Constançon, Chairman of the South African Chamber of Commerce UK, visited Durham.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council said: “I am delighted to be leading this trade mission, in conjunction with the Department of Internal Trade, bringing together a group of companies from across County Durham and the North East of England to explore opportunities for business and collaboration in South Africa. This mission will showcase some of our most ambitious companies as well as the significant investments that are happening in County Durham.

“The North East and South Africa have much in common – both have significant problems and challenges but have passionate people, who are proud of their heritage.”

Brian Archer, managing director of Business Durham, said: “The trade mission is a fantastic opportunity for County Durham businesses to take advantage of the growing export opportunities in South Africa.

“South Africa has a well-developed economic infrastructure and opportunities in emerging markets such as agri-tech, infrastructure, defence, transport and healthcare. We are excited to see how the delegates will benefit from attending the mission, and to see each of the companies expand into the overseas market.”

Delegates attended a trade mission briefing session at Salvus House in Durham on Wednesday 4 September where they were given an overview of South Africa and the recent North East/South Africa relationship by Richard Swart, Trade Mission Envoy and County Durham Business.

The delegation also attended presentations on the practicalities of attending a trade mission to South Africa by John Jenkinson, International Trade Adviser, Department of International Trade, and the value of trade missions where Dr Harry Bradbury, Imaginatives Group Limited, talked about his experience of trading in South Africa.

Angela Sterling, Managing Director at Lingotot, said: “Lingotot has been working with Business Durham for some time to scale up our business through international growth. We identified South Africa as a potential market and are delighted to be invited to take part in the trade mission. The opportunity for Lingotot in the education sector in South Africa looks very promising and having this support is vital to our growth plans.”