Did you know that Germany is our second biggest export market after the US? So it’s not surprising that when Newark Twinning and companies from Newark were invited to attend the Emmendingen exhibition in order to showcase what Newark has to offer, Optima jumped at the chance. The Leistungsschau exhibition was held over the weekend of 16th to 17th June and took over the whole of Emmendingen’s industrial area.
I went as part of a group with the Newark Twinning Association and Epix Media. Representatives from Emmendingen’s twin towns of Six Fours Les Plages in France and Sandomierz in Poland also attended.
Optima Training were just one of the 228 exhibitors welcoming over 50,000 visitors to the weekend. The exhibition was opened by the Mayor, Stefan Schlatterer, who has recently been elected for a further 8 years. He made us feel incredibly welcome and invited us to various events over the course of the weekend including: a reception and tour at Trautwein, a manufacturer of innovative baths and whirlpools; VIP tickets to a public viewing of the Denmark versus Germany football match, which was attended by around 4,000 people; and an international evening of friendship and music.
We all had a great time, made some fantastic business contacts and, more importantly, started to build relationships with potential clients. There has since been a flurry of emails from Germany indicating that some potential business may well have been brought back to other companies in Newark. The other twin towns had fantastic stands with local products, promotional literature and gifts, as well as representation from their respective Mayor’s offices.
The twinning associations in France, Germany and Poland have really strong links with the business community and are very much supported by their local towns. It was difficult not to be slightly envious - Newark Twinning Association is self-financing and anything that we took with us had to be begged or borrowed (not stolen!). Don’t get me wrong, Epix Media did receive a financial contribution from Newark Business Club as reward for promoting the club in Emmendingen and we did receive some local press coverage. However, on the whole, despite the range of opportunities for Newark business and tourism, it was difficult to obtain support and interest in the trip.
We’ve got four years until the next exhibition so ‘Come on Newark’, give us some support and find out how international twinning relationships can help move your business forward.
Don’t just take my word for it - speaking earlier in June, export expert for the East Midlands, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Regional Director Peter Hogarth said of the East Midlands "... we urge local companies to consider whether they could be engaging in export. Research shows that companies working overseas are more resilient and more likely to stay in business than those that don't, particularly during such economically turbulent times."
- Newark is twinned with: Emmendingen, Germany; Sandomierz, Poland; Saint-Cyr-Sur-Loire, France
- Emmendingen is in Baden Württemberg, the most innovative state in Germany
- This is the first time that Optima Training has attended Leistungsschau
- The exhibition is held at Emmendingen every four years
- Leistungsschau attracts over 50,000 visitors
- Optima will be going to the next Leistungsschau exhibition in Emmendingen