Export 'helps south Cambridgeshire companies grow'

Mark Howard, general manager of Zettlex
Image caption Mark Howard, general manager of Zettlex, says export markets help the company grow

A small business founder says his south Cambridgeshire company is thriving because of its "global outlook".

Research commissioned by the BBC from data analysts Experian, suggested export was a key factor in the number of growing companies in the area.

It said 2.8% of south Cambridgeshire businesses were involved in export, well above the 0.6% national average.

Mark Howard, of sensor production company Zettlex, said exporting around the world had ensured its growth.

Experian surveyed business growth and potential growth in 324 areas of the UK.

It placed south Cambridgeshire seventh in terms of the proportion of its businesses considered to be high performers capable of continued growth.

Mars rover

Mr Howard said Zettlex's success overseas had contributed to its £1.5m turnover in the past year.

The eight-year-old Newton-based company employs 10 people, and has filled orders from the UK, USA, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Romania and Belgium since the beginning of 2012.

"We're about to start a major project with the UK Space Agency, putting our sensors onto things like landing vehicles for the Mars rover," Mr Howard said.

"It's a great feather in our cap that a small hi-tech company like us can even be considered for that.

Image caption Zettlex makes rotary sensors for helicopter radar and exports its products to Europe and the US

"It's a global market out there, and because of the contracts we've signed up to we will continue growing."

Norman Shires, managing director of 12-man AV Engineering in Melbourn, said his plastic moulding business was growing for similar reasons.

"We work to a very broad spectrum of customers and export all over the world," he said.

"We send bespoke parts to China and we recently got a contract with Triumph Motorcycles, who have a plant just outside Bangkok."

He said the company had weathered four recessions and if it had not been self-financed it would have struggled to survive.

"A lot of plastics companies were mothballed, but we are still here," he said.

"Business is booming at the moment.

"Frankly the supply chain has got indigestion. We just can't get things through quickly enough."

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