Marloes de Goeijen, Advisor new business UK at Oost NL
Marloes de Goeijen, Advisor new business UK at Oost NL

Partnering to overcome the threats to trade

01 December 2020

Blog post from Oost NL 

Between two crises this year - COVID and Brexit - 2020 does not look promising for global trade. However, we’ve found that especially in these difficult and uncertain times, Oost NL, the East Netherlands Development Agency, wants to intensify connections with companies. Not only in our region in the East Netherlands, but especially with our partner region East Anglia. Together with the New Anglia LEP, the honorary consul to the Netherlands, The Lively Crew and Agri Tech-E. 

Over the past two years, we have developed a cooperation and had the intension to work together on several events, such as trade missions and trade shows. Sadly, the continued COVID-19 crisis prevented us from travelling across the North Sea to meet with our English neighbours in person. However, we’ve maintained the connection digitally and, despite the occasional mishap regarding meeting times, we were able to create new opportunities to support the business communities on both sides and even do one-on-one matchmaking! 

Marloes de Goeijen, Advisor new business UK, comments: “We’re convinced that investing in partnerships is especially important in uncertain times. Of course we’ve also dealt with disheartening stories of companies that have been hit hard by the current situation- but in general Oost NL believes that also in these times we can create business opportunities.” 

Together with partners in East Anglia, Oost NL organised a virtual mission to Agri Tech-E’s REAP event on November 10, bringing a delegation of innovative agricultural businesses to meet with the British attendees. Then, looking ahead to 2021, we hope to do the same thing live by attending Local Flavours. The East Anglian hospitality will then be reciprocated later in the spring, when we look forward to hosting a delegation of East Anglian agri-food companies in our region during a large East Netherlands event. 

Importantly, Marloes de Goeijen adds: “In the meantime, Oost NL is also there for British companies. In anticipation of a changing relationship - at least on paper - we offer a free and fully confidential soft landing programme for UK companies who are looking to secure their position on the EU mainland. With only a month to go in this year, we really want to reach out and promote this service, which can really offer opportunities - also in challenging times!” 

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

“In recent years, we have forged strong connections with partners in the Netherlands, helping businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk benefit from international opportunities, perspectives and expertise. In 2019 and 2020, a delegation of local food and drink producers joined the Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited team, lead by New Anglia LEP, at Horecava – Europe’s largest food and drink trade show – in Amsterdam. 

A fantastic example of partnership support, the businesses gained access to trade advice and were able to establish important new connections and trading opportunities. While the Covid-19 pandemic has understandably halted plans for international travel and events, New Anglia LEP’s inward investment team continues to work closely with the Oost Netherlands development agency team to build strong connections across our key local sectors – agrifood, clean energy and ICT/digital. 

We’re delighted that a virtual delegation will be joining the REAP conference in November as part of agri-tech week and planning to join the Local Flavours food and drink showcase event too. The East Netherlands is home to more than 3,000 agri-food companies and institutes and like Norfolk & Suffolk, has a global strength in food science and many well-known consumer brands. 

Clean and inclusive growth remains the key driver for economic growth here in Norfolk & Suffolk, so we’re delighted to be able to learn more about the sector in the East Netherlands, which has strong expertise in renewable energy, innovative fuel technologies and circular economy.”

Case study: Quickfire Digital

Quickfire Digital is an e-commerce focused digital transformation agency. It helps clients across the globe maximise efficiency, scalability and profitability through the use of technology. Having been formed in 2017, the company continues to defy all odds working with brands from around the world, yet it continues to always remain proud of its Norwich roots.

The business and its founders are incredible advocates to the local community offering mentoring, internships, volunteering and the organisation is often getting involved with charitable initiatives across the county. Just last year, co-founder Nathan Lomax began on a path to start two local charities, one celebrating and championing autism in the workplace and the other focused around helping those less fortunate during their time of need - “TheGiveawayGang”. 

"We have been incredibly fortunate to work closely with the LEP for the last 18 months. From supporting the Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited Brand Launch to the delivery of a new and improved website for the LEP. The LEP remains a key partner of Quickfire Digital and we are so grateful for its ongoing support. 

2020 has been an interesting time for many. The business has made some difficult yet exciting decisions, adjusting its proposition and focusing more and more on the world of digital transformation and e-commerce. This renewed vision has taken the organisation to the next level and allowed us to really focus on our international expansion plans. 

Brexit or No Brexit we always had and continue to have plans to build our organisation with multi site offices across the world. Our first port of call was to strengthen our relationship with Oost NL and to begin our expansion journey into Europe. We believe our proposition is perfect for the European market and the early results of the feedback and opportunities we have had seem to agree. 

We have been incredibly fortunate to work with Frederick Hilbolling from the UK Trade Office. He has been a fantastic ambassador for us. The opportunities across Europe and now the world are endless for us, but it’s about strategically building the right alliances and not over expanding. We have some very exciting plans in 2021, so watch this space!"

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