Zip-Clip, a Mid-Wales manufacturer of high specification suspension systems for the electrical, mechanical, heating and ventilation industries, decided to fight back against the onslaught of the UK recession by targeting export markets. The results have been dramatic, with 40% of the firm’s output now being sold overseas, in no fewer than 23 countries.
The award-winning Powys-based firm employs 18 fulltime staff whose specialist products have been used worldwide in landmark building projects, including at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where its systems were integral to the construction of the Games’ media centre.
Prior to 2008, Zip-Clip’s business was solely reliant on the UK market, but the economic downturn resulted in a 30% reduction in the company’s annual turnover, meaning it needed to expand its client-base and seek export opportunities.
The company’s drive into new overseas markets, including Germany, South Africa and Australia, was assisted by the Welsh Government’s international business support initiatives. Its International Trade Opportunities programme covered 75% of the cost of identifying potential foreign trade partners, and the Overseas Business Development Visits programme enabled the company to attend key trade missions.
These missions included an important trip to Qatar in 2013, where a 50% Welsh Government contribution towards the cost of travel and accommodation opened the door to a whole new range of opportunities in a fastgrowing market.
Today, international sales account for 40% of Zip-Clip’s annual turnover, which in turn has risen by 40% in the period between 2011 and 2013. The company recently won the 2013 Powys Exporter of the Year award.
Steve Goldsworthy, managing director of Zip-Clip said:
“Like many companies across the UK, the recession had a detrimental impact on our business as many of our clients were forced to cut back. We were faced with a difficult situation but our bank manager was the first to outline a solution: we had a great product, facility and staff but we needed to export. Thankfully, the Welsh Government’s support programmes were available. That support has changed the dynamic of our business, providing assistance for our expansion overseas. The Welsh Government’s assistance has been invaluable, and other businesses that receive this support must appreciate they’re privileged and should make the most of each subsidy and every trip.”