Yorkshire-based Agencia is establishing a growing presence in Kenya with plans to expand into new sectors across East Africa following initial success in the region.
The business is currently advising on financial and economic crime in Kenya and wants to capitalise on the growing opportunities the country has to offer.
Established in 1997, Agencia provides transformational change management services across a range of sectors including healthcare, justice, social care, policing and security.
The firm has recruited the support of an adviser in Kenya to target the wider East Africa region in an effort to increase its government work to drive business growth.
Agencia started exporting in 2003 when it secured a contract advising judicial reform in Croatia, helping the country work towards EU accession. The company has a storied history across the Western Balkans and South Eastern Europe, advising governments and organisations in Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia.
Following that success, the business approached the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help implement a full export strategy that would allow it to maximise opportunities overseas.
DIT has helped the business enter new overseas markets by arranging meetings with potential clients, and taking the business on trade missions to North Africa and China.
Agencia has also benefitted from DIT seminars, run in Yorkshire, which have helped the business understand how to drive new business prospects and mitigate potential challenges when entering new international markets.
The company currently employs a UK-based team and draws on the expertise of specialist experts when additional services are required on larger scale contracts.
Exporting currently makes up just over half of the company’s turnover. It has plans in place to grow its international clients by 2020.
The firm’s clients include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, European Union, international governments and the NHS.
Helen Gibson, Managing Director of Agencia, said: “Without the support from DIT, we wouldn’t have achieved such strong global success.
“We’ve made it part of the business’ strategy to diversify our customer base and target new overseas markets. DIT helped us to fully understand these marketplaces, introduce us to potential clients and overcome barriers such as language and legal requirements.
“We’re fortunate that as a company we are able to offer a wide variety of sector expertise from security to forensic medicine. However, it’s thanks to DIT advising us on the best ways to approach the markets that we’ve been able to secure contracts and win business.
“Targeting East Africa is now our next priority, particularly the healthcare sector. We will continue to work closely with DIT to ensure we’re ticking all the boxes in terms of legal and taxation requirements. We’re excited to continue growing the business, with exporting playing a huge part in our future.”
Mark Robson, Head of Regions for the Yorkshire and the Humber at DIT, said: “Agencia is a strong example of a business using exporting to grow its business to become more profitable and resilient.
“The business foresaw possible changes in its market and decided to explore exporting its services in countries where they saw potential demand.
“Exporting services isn’t typically what people think of when talking about selling overseas. However, Helen has shown that with the right support, anyone can tap into an overseas market.
“I’d urge anyone thinking of exploring new overseas markets, whether it’s with a product or service, to get in touch with one of our advisers based across Yorkshire and the Humber today. We can help with logistics, translations or general advice on where to start.”
Firms looking for support should contact 0300 365 1000 or email [email protected] They can also visit great.gov.uk, which gives UK businesses access to millions of pounds’ worth of potential overseas business, helping them start or increase exporting.