We all know that export is going to be one of the keys to getting the UK economy going again, but often just getting started in an export market can be a huge barrier for small companies. For those who feel that there may be potential in the French Market, that is where this scheme run by a local export consultant in partnership with French Associates, and the University of Rouen comes in. Through the scheme, teams of French Marketing students are available to conduct market research for UK companies from October to April. Their research follows a specification agreed with the companies, and the results are presented in Manchester in the Spring. The discussions and feedback from the presentations determine the follow up actions for each company, and these are completed before June when the academic year ends. It’s great experience for the Students who get valuable experience in the real world, and participating companies get real world market research on the export potential in the French Market at little or no financial outlay. The scheme is run in the UK by Cheshire Based Export consultancy Exportaid, in Partnership with French Associate Philippe Demarest who also lectures in International Trade at the University of Rouen “This year we organised five teams of two students to work on behalf of five companies from four different sectors: fashion & clothing, construction, food & drink, and cleaning & maintenance. Only one of the companies had previous experience of selling products into France. The research programme is entirely cost-free and requires minimal input from the companies once the research specification is agreed.” Explains John Reed of Exportaid Although research does not always guarantee positive results, this entry level work can help the UK companies in a number of different ways…
- it can determine that the French market is not right for their products/services at this time
- it can result in companies modifying their product/service offer to suit the French market
- it can lead to buying opportunities as well as selling opportunities
- it can identify the best initial route to market
- it can locate a number of possible distributors or selling partners
- it can establish the level of both national and regional competition
- it can generate confidence that France is a good market to sell to
…and a number of other possible outcomes. Most importantly, it takes out the initial cost of researching the market so that even if the findings are mainly negative the company does not expend time and resource reaching that conclusion. Exportaid is now looking for UK companies to fill the five research slots for our 2012-2013 programme. Three of the five slots are already taken, by companies involved in healthcare, construction, and metalcraft. If you would like to be considered for the programme, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be pleased to consider your request.
Thanks to John Reed at Exportaid for this article.