A Westcliff-on-Sea based distributor of analytical laboratory equipment has grown its export sales to the Middle East to more than £500,000, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Essex Scientific Laboratory Supplies Limited (ESSLAB) is one of the longest established laboratory distributors in the UK. It specialises in providing products and monitoring services to toxicology, forensics, environmental, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and food industry laboratories. The company also provides several testing services including drug monitoring used at the Olympics and by FIFA.

Thanks to more than 20 years of experience dealing with accredited laboratories across the UK, ESSLAB was in a strong position to trade internationally. The growing requirement that analytical measurements made by laboratories meet all relevant regulatory standards now demand that international companies adhere to strict domestic and international controls and  has extended opportunities for growth.

With funding support and recommendation from DIT, the business’s senior leaders attended a trade mission to Dubai’s biggest science trade show, ArabLab in March this year where they met with potential distributors and end-users from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

As a result of the visit, the business secured a contracts with new clients to supply Certified Reference Materials worth £75,000.

Cliff Marshall, managing director at ESSLAB, said: “While we fully understood the scientific issues demanded by clients in the Middle East, the requirements to satisfy customs and shipping regulations created some challenges.

“Working with DIT and realising the level of support that’s out there for specialist businesses like ours has been eye-opening. We’ve learnt so much through the training events they provided, and the trade mission to ArabLab has proved an invaluable opportunity to grow our business.

“I’d highly recommend that any business interested in exporting should look into support available from DIT, from events here in the UK, to participating in trade missions of their own. If we can find success overseas so may many other UK businesses.”

Thinley Topden, DIT’s Head of Exports in the East of England, said: “As the world becomes increasingly connected, it’s even more important for companies to comply with international regulations, providing opportunity for businesses like ESSLAB whose products and services meet those high standards. It’s great to see local businesses tapping into this global demand and succeeding on the international stage.

“DIT has a dedicated team of International Trade Advisers located across the East of England, who can offer a range of support to business looking to go global, including practical advice and guidance, training sessions, and introductions to valuable business contacts overseas.”

Companies looking for support should call 01707 398 398 or email eastinfo@mobile.trade.gov.uk. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has information on live export opportunities and includes general information on exporting and events.