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World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward congratulated Kent companies which have boosted their exports through a government scheme.
Sevenoaks candle firm Candella made £3m worldwide sales thanks to the Passport for Export programme, which gives them one-to-one access to trade advisers.
The company has secured orders in Switzerland, France, Morocco and Algeria since joining the initiative in 2012, run by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
They were joined by five other Kent firms as they met rugby legend Sir Clive at a celebration at the Royal Automobile Club in Epsom, Surrey.
Candella managing director Paul Obey said: “Our company was lucky to have an extremely helpful UKTI trade adviser.
“We have taken our turnover from zero to over £3m in just two years, and have been able to employ three additional members of staff at our Sevenoaks headquarters.”
“We have taken our turnover from zero to over £3m in just two years, and have been able to employ three additional members of staff at our Sevenoaks headquarters...” - Candella managing director Paul Obey
Other Kent companies at the event were Maidstone-based interior design firm Cathy Oliver Group, Ramsgate-based Jenny Duff Tableware and Tunbridge Wells firms Moltek Consultants Ltd and Tek Military Seating.
Another was Tunbridge Wells-based language education service provider Beta Group, which was able to run training courses in New York, Lagos and Sydney after taking part in the scheme.
It saw bookings increase 20% and took an additional £15,000 in revenues.
Managing director Trevor Neil said: “We are now in a position where we can look to create further jobs in our Tunbridge Wells headquarters and expand into even more markets- including in Kenya, Ghana, Hong Kong and China.”
UKTI South East regional director Lewis Scott said: “It’s important to celebrate the success of our local exporters, whose contribution to the local economy is vital. From increasing turnover to assuring local jobs, the value of exporting cannot be overstated.
“I’m keen to see other companies across Kent follow the example of these companies, and become international export success stories.”
In the last five years, 935 businesses in the South East have been helped by the Passport to Export scheme.
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