Dr Jo North is the Managing Director of The Big Bang Partnership Ltd, a commercial innovation consultancy that works with businesses to help them to innovate and grow. Jo works with companies to optimise their commercial creative potential and build an innovative, entrepreneurial capability into organisational culture. This was the company's first trade mission: ‘When I heard this trade mission was running, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity and would be a great test for our new training product ‘idea time’ - a 12 week distance learning programme.”
Jo can’t praise the trade mission enough and was especially impressed with the excellent sessions on understanding the market. These briefing events on how to do business were really important in helping to understand the difference between the markets she was visiting and the UK. Jo says ‘I think the most important lesson I learnt was the importance and impact of culture on the way business is conducted.”
A trade mission is a really great way of entering a new market as you get so much support and gain so much experience from both the trade mission leaders and other businesses on the trade mission. It also means you are far more likely to meet potential clients, as all the contacts you meet have been preselected by people who really understand both the country you are visiting and your products and services. ‘The whole trade mission was just superbly well organised’ Jo says, ‘The Training Gateway have been absolutely phenomenal. I felt very supported, valued and well looked after. It was really an excellent investment in time and money. They were very flexible and really took on board what kinds of people and organisations I wanted to see in each market.’
Jo’s final piece of advice for anyone going on a trade mission is to know what you want to achieve and make sure you communicate that as clearly as you can to The Training Gateway team so they can work with their partners overseas to ensure you meet the right people. ‘If you want to win new business, just go and be open minded!’ she says, ‘that’s how you gain business ’.
Jo is hoping to return the region in 2018 to build on the initial relationships she has developed during the trade mission.