Making connections at SIAL

Thomas Hutchinson | 29 Oct 2018 | European Perspective

SIAL is a focal point in the global food industry calendar, with around 160,000 visitors expected over the five-day event. Companies, investors and spectators arrive from all four corners of the globe to talk about the things human beings need most of all; food and drink. Well, family and love are important too, but we’ll save that for another conference.

The 8 hangers where the 7,000+ businesses have set up their booths are bursting at the seams with attendees. And, amongst these booths promoting everything from peaches to popcorn, chorizo to cheddar cheese, there is an inescapable feeling of opportunity. People are here to export. To sell their products in new and intriguing markets. Exporting is GREAT (as the DIT stands dotted around the event promote with pride) and here is the place to do it.

I was there to talk to UK SMEs that are looking to grow their businesses in new international markets. There was a lot of support at SIAL, from the likes of Invest Northern Ireland, Bord Bia and DIT.

However, when talking to companies I found that there is still something missing in their support. This significant hurdle is the factor that is stopping them establishing a foothold in new international markets. This is representation.

I talked to one UK SME who make bakery products. He said that it is all well and good wanting to break into the US marketplace but the paperwork alone is a nightmare. If only, he said, they had an agent or a representative in market. This person could take care of mass orders and sorting the growing pains of bringing the product into the market and allow the brand to grow. That, he said, would be a game-changer.

OCO Global is committed to representing companies that aim to grow in a globally connected world. SMEs need added support in their exporting journey. Limited resources and a lack of knowledge within new markets leads to limited results. The early months and years are crucial to any international venture – where companies either sink or swim.  This is where strong representation is needed. Spending money on greater representation can prove the key to success. Utilising a partner with a strong network in your new market adds a local presence, building a stronger profile in the new region.

We can provide representation for SMEs and larger businesses in the US, UAE and Europe. Our extended business network and government connections in these markets can be harnessed for the benefit of your company to fuel the business development needed to break the market. This reduces both the risk of entering new markets and the cost.

The top 5 benefits of OCO Global representation services when your business enters a new market:

  1. A louder voice in a crowded marketplace – utilise our international business network to spread the word about your product or service to established businesses and networks in your target market. Our network can open doors to your business that might otherwise take years of effort to break into. This advantage is priceless in the first few months of entering a market.
  2. Presence at key industry events – we can attend events on your behalf. If your resources are stretched in your new market, we can be your representative at trade shows, conferences or networking events.
  3. Extending your geographic reach – perhaps you need sales and marketing on the west coast of the US but all your resources are committed to the east coast. We can become an extension of your team in regions where you do not have resource.
  4. Utilising our sector experts – We have specialists working across a variety of sectors including advanced manufacturing, construction, creative, PR, food and drink, aerospace, education, tech, financial and more.
  5. Forging new partnerships, channels and adding value – We are committed to growing your business network. We can connect you new channels and partnerships through our existing networks and by acting as an extension of your team. By leveraging the advantages of our network and our experience, we can add value to your proposition in a new market, securing your foundations and future growth.

Through engaging our Representation Services, UK SMEs can focus on the important things that come from trading internationally – job creation, innovation and growing their enterprise.

If you would like to learn more about our Representation Services, contact Trade & Investment Consultant Conor Griffiths at