PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
BLACK COUNTRY INTERNATIONAL
MEET ARUN DHUNNA - EXPORT ACADEMY ADVISOR FOR THE BLACK COUNTRY REGION
We catch up with Arun to find out a little more about him and how he is helping local businesses to explore international opportunities?
What region do you cover?
As a part of DIT West Midlands, I am based in the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Offices in Wolverhampton and work across the four borough council areas in the Black Country: Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall.
Do you have a sector focus?
Like most other Export Academy Advisers serving throughout UK Regions, I am first and foremost a generalist, working with companies from all sectors: manufacturing; engineering; creative, lifestyle and learning, construction, infrastructure, defence and security; healthcare, life sciences, bioeconomy and service sectors.
What did you do before you became an International Trade Adviser?
Ever since I was a little boy, I had a passion for banking/financial services and wanted to become a bank manager. After I graduated in the year 2000 in International Business Management I went on and fulfilled my dream and became Branch manager for Barclays Bank after a year of leaving university.
Achieving my next career interest and goal meant working with international companies all over the globe. I worked for American Express as regional sales manager for FX International Payment solutions, working with global companies developing business and providing advice around all aspects of investment trading on the world markets.
I have spent the last 20 years in the banking/financial services sector working for some of the largest financial institutions globally such as Santander Bank (Relationship Director), Barclaycard (Head of Commercial Development), HSBC bank (Senior Consultant, Global Banking Markets), Talk Finance (Head of Global Business Development, based in Luxembourg), FIS (Senior Business Development Manager).
Working all over the world advising global organisations on business development strategy, growing into further international markets and working with them on a consultative approach has led me to the person I am today.
Outside of work I have a great passion for snooker and pool, I played at a high level in the amateur snooker game and featured in many tournaments. My coach was Graham Miles, a former world snooker professional.
Whilst I was at university I did “Camp America” where I travelled to the U.S teaching Americans to play pool and I have to say, I would recommend camp America to anyone who has the opportunity to do this.
Which countries have you visited?
Both my parents were born in India, in the state of Punjab. They emigrated to the UK in the ’70s, and I was born in Birmingham, where I have lived all my life.
I enjoy travelling and will find any excuse for a holiday to explore different parts of the world, I am passionate about culture and the way in which different countries operate - I love to explore.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places around the world including, most of Europe, the USA, India, Dubai, Thailand, Bangkok, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Switzerland and Turkey.
Do you speak any other languages?
My native language is English, but I am fortunate that as my parents are from India, and speak fluent Hindi and Punjabi, I can also speak this fluently. Thanks to my wife, I am also fluent in Gujrati.
What kind of advice and support do you offer your clients?
The Export Academy supports new and inexperienced exporters that want to take their exports to the next level. Businesses can receive support to develop an export action plan and access a suite of intensive masterclasses and support on critical issues such as market research, international marketing, export procedures and getting your goods to market.
You can also expect 1-2-1 personal consultation with sector specialists who are able to offer you support driving your business forward.
I give high-quality advice and support to businesses within the Black Country region, businesses initially up to £500k turnover and across all business sectors, to help increase their international exporting competitiveness.
My aim is to identify both new and in-experienced exporters of goods and services, to develop their international business strategies and tailor services and other support to deliver their exporting growth.
The Export Academy Programme has been devised to support businesses and cover the following: -
Getting Goods to Market
Focuses on exports at a practical level in terms of understanding the processes and procedures involved in getting goods to market, using real-life case studies and examples to show how the processes should be managed and the roles and responsibilities for you, the transport company and the end customer.
Market Research and Selection
Market research is the first and one of the most vital steps for any organisation whether they are entering a new overseas market or developing existing markets. We will support you in considering different approaches and research techniques and start to develop a research plan for your own business.
International Marketing Strategy
We will support you in developing your international digital marketing strategy for a global audience. They will include but not limited to - website internationalisation, SEO, digital marketing, social media, e-marketplaces, advertising and data.
What skills do you need as an ITA?
As an Export Academy Advisor, you need to be organised and generalist as you are working across all sectors, there is a lot to keep track of.
You need to possess good listening skills in order to effectively identify where our services and support can assist a client’s need to best provide the support they require. Relationship building is a key element to the role, building the trust of the clients, so good listening, communication and interpersonal skills are all vital to be successful within this role.
Have a commercially focused attitude with experience of compiling international trade strategies and exporting action plans along with sound awareness of issues affecting the UK economy and global business.
You need to work strategically and consultatively with the approach you take with your clients with the end goal to grow their business internationally.
Working for the Department for International Trade is a very fast-paced organisation, you need the ability to digest a large amount of information, business intelligence, the global economy and keep up to date with what is happening on international trade, so you are in a good position to provide clear and accurate information to your clients.
What do you like about your role?
I enjoy working with businesses, I get a buzz and so much satisfaction when I see companies achieve business goals and start to grow, especially when I personally have added value to their journey.
I enjoy working with so many diverse businesses with fantastic products and services, I learn a lot by speaking to different business owners and hear the challenges they face, whilst supporting them to overcome the challenges.
Tell us about your clients.
I work with many diverse vertical businesses which include, but are not limited to, manufacturing, food, service, construction, chemical, skincare, education – so I have a mixture of clients from start-ups to SME’s.
And finally, what advice would you give a company looking to export into new markets?
Whether you’re a new start-up or a well-established business and are thinking about starting to export and expand further afield from the UK your first port of call should be getting in contact with an Export Academy Advisor. We can support you from the beginning of your journey, provide you with the correct way to approaching international markets and most importantly educating you on how to approach exporting in the correct way.
To talk to an International Trade Adviser about how they can help your business to expand internationally call 0330 024 0820