GTR and the British Exporters Association (BExA) gathered a handful of young UK-based exporters and export financiers to discuss their biggest achievements and hurdles, and debunk the myths around exporting.GTR: What has been the highlight of your career thus far as a young exporter or export financier?
Hunter: I have enjoyed working in Japan and South Korea. Japan was somewhere where we had nothing going on and no real business of any consequence. It was one of the most foreign markets. It was completely impenetrable if you didn’t know anybody. Somehow, over the past five or six years, we’ve managed to put in place this quite complicated network of distributors and customers. We now have Japanese approval for their national disaster agency. We are the only UK company I know of who have pulled that off, and now it is quite a busy market for us. Exporting is dealing with the cultural nuances of the country that you are dealing with, and they don’t get more nuanced than Japan.
GTR: What needs to be done to drive the UK’s potential as an exporting hub?
Hunter: My perspective is much more on the actual building stuff aspect, which is not particularly fashionable here anymore. Some of the scientific expertise, especially in the universities here, is so good. If you are making things where you can have that level of excellence at the heart of everything you are doing, you can compete with anybody in the world.
Hunter: I never subscribe to the view that you can’t do it just as cheaply here in the UK. You’ve just got to be clever about it. It can be done. You’ve just got to be smart.