UAE Trade Mission: Delegate Story: Craig Shaw, Advetec

Group CEO Craig Shaw plans to grow his Bath-based waste-management company by focusing on export. He explains how a Breakthrough International Trade Mission to the UAE gave him a direct connection to potential clients and the wider market.

Craig Shaw, Group CEO of Advetec Holdings Ltd, joined Breakthrough International’s Trade Mission to Abu Dhabi and Dubai with the aim of finding potential markets for the company’s environmental waste solutions. He came back with 15 commissioned projects generated from 18 scheduled meetings and is returning to the UAE in December to complete more deals initiated during the five-day trip. “Our technology was so well received that word soon spread about my visit and I was contacted by additional potential customers who wanted to meet me,” he says. “I ended up quoting for business worth 400 million US dollars during the Trade Mission.”

“I was introduced to government officials and the big waste and environmental companies in the municipalities. It’s given me a huge contact list of qualified leads..." Craig Shaw, Group CEO of Advetec Holdings Ltd

All the 11 delegates invited to take part in the Trade Mission have strong growth potential in the UAE. Advetec has been operating in the Middle East market for three years already, working with a business partner in Dubai. “We’d had some successes but felt there was a huge market we hadn’t yet accessed,” says Craig. “Waste is a big issue in the UAE and we are the only company in the world to offer solid and liquid waste solutions that work quickly and with no environmental impact. Our USP is that our technology deals with waste that other machines can’t process. As a result, we felt confident we could provide UAE businesses such as manufacturing firms, hotels and restaurants, abattoirs and wastewater sewage plants with a game-changing product. For us, the Trade Mission was about meeting those potential customers.”
Opening doors
The Trade Mission was organised by Breakthrough International with support from UKTI, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and the British Business Group. “To be presented in the region by a globally respected bank like Santander was an important endorsement for Advetec and it opened doors for me on the trip,” he adds. “I was introduced to government officials and the big waste and environmental companies in the municipalities. It’s given me a huge contact list of qualified leads to work with going forward.”
The Trade Mission offered networking opportunities and business receptions attended by all the delegates, as well as a schedule of individual meetings with specific agencies, companies and experts. For Craig, the work of promoting Advetec began before he’d left the UK, with the writing of his delegate profile. “That was the first step, as it summed up what Advetec could offer,” he explains. “The next step was being introduced to potential clients by the UKTI, as that got us in front of the people we wanted to see. Next came the actual meetings. I invited some contacts to the group events, including a networking event at the UK Embassy in Abu Dhabi. It was an advantage to be able to meet socially in such a setting, as well as in a business environment.”
Real results fast
The response to Advetec’s waste solutions was swift. “We found that once we were in a meeting, people didn’t want to let us go,” says Craig. “We had an incredible response to our technology and the fact our machines are designed and manufactured here in the UK. We found a huge respect for British engineering in the UAE.” One potential client even drove Craig to the sites they wanted serviced and asked for immediate quotes for the work. “We’re already wrapping up seven projects commissioned during the Trade Mission, and we’ve had five more indirect contacts since I returned to the UK four weeks ago,” he adds. “Our new clients include manufacturing company IFFCO, which has 16 factories in the Middle East and over 30 worldwide; the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company; and LuLu Hypermarkets, which has 110 stores across the Gulf region.”

“I ended up quoting for business worth 400 million US dollars during the Trade Mission.” Craig Shaw

These results have accelerated Advetec’s plans for growth in the UAE and other regions internationally. “By next year, we expect to be 98% an export company,” says Craig. “We are restructuring the business to cope with the demand for our services from the UAE market, introducing more staff locally in the region and providing additional support back in the UK.”
The UAE Trade Mission exceeded the expectations of Advetec’s Craig Shaw, opening doors that had remained stubbornly closed despite the company’s previous three-year presence in the region. To register your interest in attending a future Breakthrough Trade Mission email your local Santander Relationship Director via our website.

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