Just 10 weeks into office, British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell shared her views recently at an Export Breakfast in Wellington. Her theme was internationalising the export of differentiated goods and services, which she advocates is essential to step change growth at both the firm and economy level. She gave examples of how this has been achieved, e.g. Nottingham University has most of its students studying IN China on a JV campus, which significantly contributes to its research funding, also the JCB India story and Dyson in Malaysia.
The thrust of her message was that by keeping the high end value domestic, and internationalising the essentials, but low value add, of production, marketing and related services, a firm can grow exponentially AND both retain and grow its domestic activity (i.e. R&D, design, engineering). The firm ends up employing more people domestically than before and increases its export earnings significantly.
Vicki’s view is that the level of domestic sales that a firm could have in a small country like New Zealand is its principal limiting factor, which internationalisation would overcome.
The “Passport to Exporting” program she developed whilst UK T&I Director examined a firm’s financial capability, risk management capability, productive capacity and sales and marketing capacity as a benchmarking process to help them answer the question “What Next?” as far as export activity was concerned.