Successes for EEI

TWO St Ives companies have moved into new overseas markets, with help from the year-old East of England International, the region s official international support agency. PMA Group, which employs 10 staff and has 100 freelance trainers, provides courses i

TWO St Ives companies have moved into new overseas markets, with help from the year-old East of England International, the region's official international support agency.

PMA Group, which employs 10 staff and has 100 freelance trainers, provides courses in journalism, public relations, marketing and other communications skills, has moved into new markets in Brussels and the Far East, particularly in Singapore.

"EEI is terrific," said Riva Elliott, business development director. "They focus you on best practice and also subsidise overseas trips to look for new opportunities.

"The UK market has peaks and troughs. Having overseas interests helps to spread the risk," she added. "Business has become much more global, even for smaller companies."


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PMA has recently been training in Poland, Romania, Germany, north America and Belgium, where it is providing keynote speakers for EU conferences.

Label manufacturers Le Mark, a former Hunts Post Business Award winner, was helped by matching EEI finance to find a distributor for its products in the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates.

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"Our product Magtape is now probably the dominant brand in the Dubai hotel and leisure industry," said a delighted managing director, Stuart Gibbons, who is also chairman of Huntingdonshire Chamber of Commerce.

"We worked with EEI's advisers and counsellors in opening up new markets, particularly with researching suitable markets," he added. "We would not now be exporting to the Middle East without that help."

New figures from EEI show that 53 successful inward investment projects were completed in 2005-2006, 365 companies exported for the first time and 537 companies accessed new markets overseas.

This latest announcement also reveals that EEI inward investment activities attracted or secured 2,282 jobs at foreign-owned facilities. These jobs have an annual salary benefit to the region of £59million..

James Gray, Chief Executive of EEI, said: "We are delighted with these results, which again demonstrate how attractive the East of England is to overseas investors. Our successes are spread across the region and include a number of very significant strategic investments which will attract attention from other investors.

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