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November 2015 - Export PA

emita is pleased to announce November’s member spotlight is Export PA. You can find out more about this local company below from Angela Kühn, Owner Manager, including the company’s overseas challenges, international achievements and aspirations for the future.

Please provide a company background including when it was established, where it is located, how many staff you employ etc.

Export PA has been trading since April 2014 and I, Angela Kühn, am currently the only person working in the business.  But I have made some great contacts and forged valuable connections with other specialist service providers who I work alongside with.  I am based in Nottingham but operate UK-wide, either through providing virtual office support or working at a client’s premises.  I am German and started out working in Germany.  However, I moved to Nottingham and have lived here now for just over 20 years.  During this time, I have acquired a wide-ranging work portfolio through a variety of positions in employed office based roles such as secretary, PA, export coordinator, events manager, book-keeper and through to managing routine financial transactions and accounts.

Please provide an overview of the products and services offered and areas of specialisation.

Export PA provides expert, bilingual assistance to British based SMEs helping them to establish or develop existing export business in German-speaking countries.  I act as Intermediary between British and German-speaking companies supporting clients with making their export journey as smooth as possible.  This will usually be assisting clients with implementing their export strategy by providing bilingual personal and secretarial support, and facilitating other operational responsibilities as needed.  This can range from a small task such as interpreting a letter, an email or other document that they have received to managing the export project.  I will always try to be as flexible as possible in my approach to working with clients and match the services that Export PA offers to suit clients’ specific requirements.

A sample list of services offered:

Initiating contact with German-speaking businesses;
Managing and dealing with correspondence in German, including telephone calls;
Arranging meetings and visits;
Signposting – Introduce clients to business networks and support organisations in Germany;
Sourcing information on international trade exhibitions and assisting clients with booking onto them either as a delegate or exhibitor; 
Contacting logistics firms to find out the best possible way to ship products abroad;
Meeting and greeting people at airports or train stations, and accompanying them to their final destination.

How did you find out about emita and what benefits do you find the most valuable?

I found out about EMITA in a round-about way when almost three years ago, someone told me about UK Trade & Investment and that they were arranging a market visit to Germany during the spring of 2013.  I got in touch with them (UKTI) and was lucky to be accepted to join their trip.  This prompted me to start my own business.  When I started to attend events and seminars with an international focus, it was then that I came across EMITA and met their friendly team.  I value the information I gain from attending EMITA’s events and seminars, but also the opportunities to network

How long has your company been active in the export / import market and which countries do you currently trade with?

Ever since I set up Export PA, it was deemed to operate internationally.  My focus is to act as intermediary between British and German-speaking companies, including Austria, and to facilitate services around exporting for my British clients.  I believe that my role can be crucial for companies that I work with in ensuring that correct information is passed on and both parties understand each other.  I assist my clients to effectively communicate with their prospective clients or desired suppliers in German, which includes a wide range of support services for international business.

What made you decide to expand your business overseas?

After several years of working in a variety of employed roles and gathering valuable experience and skills within office management and business administration, including finance and accounting, it felt natural for me to set up my own business utilising my core skills and offer these as services in a more specific way.

What has been your biggest exporting / importing challenge?

Working with Austrian organisations.  Naturally, I am familiar with the culture and ‘how things work’ in Germany but through Export PA, I needed to become familiar with Austria too.  Even though the official language in Austria is German in reality, Austrians speak with quite a pronounced dialect and also several words are different.  From a business point of view, I have learned about how some of the Austrian government offices and support organisations operate and what services they offer, for instance registering a new business.  Once I had overcome this challenge, this knowledge and experience is something that is now part of my wider portfolio of services offered.  Thus it will be much easier for me in the future to facilitate this service for my clients wishing to operate in Austria.

What’s the most helpful piece of international trade advice you have received?

EMITA’s events and seminars are very informative, particularly the ones that focus on German and Germany, and I always pick up something valuable from presentations by internationally renowned companies.  As I am German, most ‘German’ habits still come to me naturally however, as I have lived in England for (what I think) quite a long time, there are things such as recent or technical developments in Germany that I feel a bit rusty about.  But there are also a lot of wider public issues and cultural differences such as the national health service and benefits systems, employment, law, the role of chambers of commerce, or foreign words and phrases that are introduced into the German language, which should be considered when starting to trade in Germany or Austria.  Of course, I utilise my personal network of family and friends and, needless to say, I pick up things when I am in Germany myself.  In the last 18 months, I have learned a lot about ‘doing business’ in Germany –and also Austria–, which I was not very involved with when I lived in Germany.  Certain things have been reiterated for me, and I have also made some great contacts with German and Austrian business support organisations.  As everyone will agree, the trade statistics talked about at EMITA events and seminars also give a great inside into international trading.

What does the future hold? Any particular markets you are looking to target next?

I want to keep operating in these markets in the foreseeable future but with a focus on growing business with German and Austrian companies.  I want to develop my marketing approach in these countries and more actively target these markets.  For instance, developing a web presence in Germany and joining a German language virtual business network.

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