East of England International (EEI), the region’s official international business support agency, is celebrating its most successful year to date with new figures showing that 53 successful inward investment projects were completed, 365 companies exported for the first time and 537 companies accessed new markets overseas in the year 2005-2006.

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 £59,028,056.

 

Leading the way in new jobs for the region were: Eisai Pharmaceuticals (Japan) in Hatfield, Hertfordshire and EasyMobile (Denmark) in Stevenage, Hertfordshire both creating 150, Nestor Pharmaceuticals (India) in Mildenhall, Suffolk with 80, and Kodak European Research (USA) in Cambridge with 50.

 

In terms of market interest, the largest share (42%) of enquiries during the year came from the US and Canada with 30% from Europe.  However there has been a distinct increase in activity in the major emerging markets of China and India, in which EEI has launched some major initiatives.  The high technology and life science sectors accounted for 53% and 14% of enquiries respectively.

 

EEI has been ramping up its own marketing effort over the last few years with support from East of England Development Agency.  As a result two-thirds of enquiries are generated by the EEI sales team with the remainder coming through EEI’s relationships with the national network of Embassies and Consulates General.

 

International trade was also a success – all set targets were exceeded. Exporting for the first time during the year were 365 regional companies, with 537 accessing new markets overseas. The Passport to Export Programme, UK Trade & Investment’s flagship programme for new and inexperienced exporters which includes training, planning and ongoing support, also attracted 260 companies to participate.

 

Europe continues to be the market of most interest to novice exporters. As many as 63% of those on the Passport programme target Europe, followed by 13% USA, 9% Middle East and 8% Asia.

 

The value of the Passport to Export Programme is exemplified by Watford-based, ArtiCAD, who won the 2005 national UK Trade & Investment Passport to Export Award after establishing three successful subsidiary companies in the USA, Ireland and South Africa with further plans to expand their export business. As part of the Programme, ArtiCad, who produce kitchen and bathroom design software, developed a strategic plan to export, attended various international exhibitions and trade shows, and received help with market research and product marketing. They have since increased sales by 30% and are continuing to develop their software.

 

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.”

 

“Looking to 2006/07 we now have the region’s international trade teams working as part of EEI.  They too have had a very successful year last year and working together we believe the trade and inward investment teams will deliver even more value to the region.”

 

George Kieffer, Chairman of EEI and Deputy Chair of EEDA, said: “The achievements of last year pay an eloquent tribute to the professionalism and dedication of the international trade and inward investment teams who deserve warm congratulations. During the past year I have been able to meet with UKTI staff in High Commissions, Embassies and Consulates and I have been most impressed with their commitment on behalf of UK PLC.

 

“The year has been challenging as these results were achieved while inward investment and international trade services were brought under a single management, the first English Region to organise itself in this fashion. The current year will allow us to draw out some of the synergies from this new structure.”

 

Alan Pain, acting head of business service at EEDA, said: “Linking up international trade support with inward investment in the region is extremely important, and these results show that the East of England is continuing to improve in this area.  EEDA has provided significant investment in EEI, which is one of our closest sister organisations, and they have performed well in both coordinating the investment activities of regional and local partners and providing potential investors with an excellent package of international business support services.  We look forward to continuing the development of these services in conjunction with our regional and local partners."