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    We’re Export Champions!

    Hydraulics Online DIT Export Champion

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    Hydraulics Online has been announced as a 2019 Northern Powerhouse Export Champion by the UK’s Department for International Trade

    Launching the Export Champion Community in Durham on 28th February, International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, Dr Liam Fox MP said:

    The Export Champion Community is an important initiative and its members will play a vital role in creating the culture of exporting that my international economic department is building in Britain. By raising the profile of exporters in this way, we will help to normalise exporting across the country, expanding horizons, removing barriers to market access and facilitating expansion here in the UK. Supported by a community of the UK’s leading exporters, I am confident that our businesses will continue to grow their exports in the months and years ahead.

    Helping others fulfil their global market potential

    The Export Champions programme was first launched in the North West in 2013, and has since gone from strength to strength, with more businesses joining each year.

    Export Champions include businesses of different sizes and from a wide range of sectors, but what they all have in common is the drive to make the most of the opportunities that international trade can offer, and their willingness to share their knowledge with others. Export Champions help others fulfil their global market potential. As such, they work with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to assist other businesses on their export journeys and lead by example, as they as they continue to win new international business and reach out to new markets themselves.

    This year there are 125 companies from the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber representing the entire Northern Powerhouse region. Each Export Champion has been handpicked by the DIT from amongst the 30,000 registered exporters within the Northern Powerhouse region; the companies could not nominate themselves for the accolade.

    Export Champions 2019 group photo
    Helen Tonks, Hydraulics Online, in front of Export Champion sign

    Our journey: from a spare desk at home to becoming global Export Champion

    DIT Export Champion logo

    Hydraulics Online was founded by husband-and-wife-team, Mark and Helen Tonks in 2004 from a spare desk at home. Business is thriving for the now seven-strong team; supporting a global customer base spanning 130 countries, ranging from business start-ups to household names, and with more than one in three new customers coming from overseas.

    Helen made a conscious effort to raise the profile of the business two years ago by telling the Hydraulics Online ‘story’; the company’s journey from humble beginnings and its ‘unique’ approach capturing the imagination of others, both within and outside the industry.

    Since the end of 2017, Hydraulics Online has been recognised for a startling twelve business awards but despite this success the team aren’t resting on their laurels; instead continuing to build the company’s offering and credentials to ensure that in a post-Brexit world Hydraulics Online remain the most obvious choice to all.

    While continually investing in the company’s future, Helen also ensures that the team makes time to ‘pay it forward’ to schools, students, universities, projects and other businesses through hands on support and involvement, mentoring and guest speaking.

    Helen says:

    The last 18 months have taken Hydraulics Online on an incredible journey; being selected to be an Export Champion as one of the most entrepreneurial exporters in England’s Northern Powerhouse region is the icing on the cake. It’s wonderful recognition of all that we have already achieved and of our vision, plans and energy for continued growth. Despite all the uncertainty that surrounds us all, we’re more confident than ever in our future – both internationally and here in the UK. Now, having a real platform to encourage and mentor others as an Export Champion is hugely exciting too.

    Natalie Bain, Deputy Director UK Regions, Northern Powerhouse lead at Department for Internal Trade said: ”It has never been more important for businesses to explore opportunities globally and we know that exporters tend to be more productive, innovative and resilient than other businesses. Our Export Champions have already proven that the world will happily buy our goods and services so the opprtunities are certainly out there.”

    Minister for Trade and Export Promotion Baroness Fairhead added:

    A key part of DIT’s role is to help UK businesses to export. That is why our Export Strategy is unapologetically business-led. So today, I am delighted to help launch this Export Champions programme which was created in response to business demands for a peer-to-peer means of finding information, advice and inspiration. It will allow companies to seek support from ‘those who look like them’.

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