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Hull firm conquers Asian market

Export success: Hull-based Chatta is experiencing strong demand for its educational software in the Asian market

Students in South East Asia are set to learn English thanks to Hull-based educational software business Chatta.

Founded in 2015 by former school teacher Chris Williams, the company designs educational software that combines pictures, video and voice recordings to help accelerate language learning in early years education.

Earlier this year, the Department for International Trade (DIT) supported the business in exhibiting at the British Educational Suppliers’ Association (BESA) trade show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Chatta showcased its software capabilities in a demonstration with local Malaysian school students and within a week had secured an export deal.

The firm is now working with DIT advisers in Malaysia to explore the possibility of providing its software to the Malaysian government for use in schools and nurseries, as well as exploring opportunities for future expansion into the Vietnamese educational market. As a direct result of this demand, the company is expecting its overseas revenue to grow to £2.5 million over the coming five years.

Chatta has also been included in Creative England’s 2018 CE50 list, an annual review of the 50 most innovative creative companies in the UK.

Later this year, DIT will give education companies from across the Northern Powerhouse the chance to showcase their products to the Asian market at the Learning and Teaching Expo in Hong Kong. The trade mission comes as part of the government’s Exporting is GREAT campaign, an initiative designed to showcase British goods and services overseas and encourage firms across the UK to start or grow their exporting activity.

Chris Williams, Co-founder and Managing Director, Chatta, said: “The world looks to the UK as an innovator in education. Although we’ve been selling Chatta in the UK since 2015, it wasn’t until we were invited by DIT to take part in a showcase of British products at the BETT trade show in London in 2016 that we realised the scale of the demand for English learning overseas.

“Exporting has opened many doors for the business, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. As a software company, one of our major considerations has been protecting our intellectual property abroad. Thankfully, DIT has been on hand to help guide us through this process, and helped us to access local government experts who made sure our trademarks were watertight.”

“Over the next four years, the Malaysian government is planning to provide 40,000 new nursery places across the country. DIT advisers have helped us to secure meetings with the Malaysian Minister of Education to discuss using Chatta to help their students improve their English speaking skills. If a business like ours from Hull can find success like this overseas, many others can too.”

Mark Robson, Head of Regions, Yorkshire and the Humber, Department for International Trade, said: “There is currently strong demand for Britain’s educational services the world over, and South East Asia is no exception. Chatta is an outstanding example of a local business that has been quick to seize upon the huge opportunity for growth overseas.

“To help businesses meet their exporting ambitions, we have a network of 29 International Trade Advisers based across Yorkshire and the Humber. These experts are ready to support firms in identifying buyers overseas, and tackle everything from market research to intellectual property law. I’d urge anyone interested to get in touch and see where exporting could take them.”