Safetray in the Financial Times

Safetray was included in the Financial Times' supplement 'A Blueprint for British Business'. CEO Alison Grieve spoke to Paul Solman about the benefits of exporting. Since Safetrays are sold all over the world, she had a lot of interesting points to make.


Financial Times, 24th October 2012

Helping hands to sell abroad

Government financing and other services for exporters have had a mixed reception, writes Paul Solman

...Safetray Products is a business that sees its future primarily in overseas markets. Alison Grieve set up the Edinburgh-based company just three years ago to sell her invention, a tray that has a retractable handle to stop it toppling over. Already she has landed distribution deals in the Middle East, Australia and North America.

She, too, says government support was important. "We were lucky in that, although we aren't really part of the food and drink sector, we can slip into that category," she says.

"So in the Middle East there was a food and drink trade mission and a lot of UKTI support, and we were able to jump on that bandwagon. We also used Smart Exporter, a Scottish [trade support] scheme."

Nevertheless, Ms Grieve says UK companies that want to sell their own inventions abroad often struggle to protect their intellectual property - an issue that government schemes fail to address.

"For all but the largest companies it would be extremely expensive to defend your patent in different markets," she says. "What many companies do is end up licensing their innovations away at a very early stage.

"That is where the government is missing a trick, because what you get for a licensing deal in the early stages is not what you get if you hold on, start manufacturing and start to sell - which is what we have done."

Read the full story here

Posted on October 25, 2012 .