Solid Form Solutions
Working with Scottish Development International (SDI) can open up new markets that companies wouldn’t otherwise consider and can make a real impact on revenue.
“Working with SDI has definitely expanded the scope of our business. We can account for £900k of business from just one event alone, and we certainly wouldn’t have considered the Korean market without their help.” – Julie Scott, Solid Form Solutions
Founded in 2008, Solid Form Solutions is already a world-leading contract research organisation (CRO). The company provides the pharmaceutical industry with an integrated solid form development service, seamlessly bringing the most developable solid form of a drug molecule from bench to plant.
Having enjoyed rapid, early growth Solid Form Solutions soon established itself as a world-leader in solid-state services.
Targeting overseas companies was always part of the business plan for the company but like any business, it faced the challenge of breaking into unfamiliar markets. And support from SDI was invaluable in making that initial breakthrough.
“It can cost upwards of £20,000 to take a stand at the big overseas exhibitions, so SDI support was really important, says Julie Scott, a Director at Solid Form Solutions.
“They provided us with market insights and told us about trade missions they were planning. We also went with them to exhibitions and got help with travel costs.”
Initially the company used SDI support to visit exhibitions across Europe and the US, building up relationships and increasing their client base as a result.
But it was when Solid Form Solutions turned their attention to the exciting Asian market that SDI suggested a geographical location that wasn’t necessarily on their radar: Korea.
“We would never have considered Korea without SDI support,” says Julie. “It’s a completely new marketplace to us and a real leap into the unknown but is full of potential.”
In 2011, Solid Form Solutions travelled with SDI to BIO Korea – a truly global biotechnology conference, which attracts over 300 companies, with close to 13,000 visitors, and this has been increasing year on year.
The company took full advantage of the large exhibition space, which included meeting rooms, reception area, television screens, individual pods for displaying promotional material and a translator and opportunities for networking.
“SDI has been promoting Bio Korea and exhibiting there for the last six years – encouraging our companies to incorporate Korea into their overall Asian plans,” explains Marion Murray, Solid Form Solutions’ SDI representative.
“Commitment and planning is essential – companies need to build in time and resources to make return visits and to make a regular appearance on the Bio Korea stand year on year.”
“The amount of opportunities in Korea has been a real surprise to us,” Julie says. “SDI’s Korean Manager was fantastic and set up lots of meetings with potential customers.”
In the same year, SDI also took Solid Form Solutions to the AusBiotech exhibition, a hub for the Asian market.
Before travelling to AusBiotech, the company gave SDI a brief as to the kind of businesses they wanted to make contact with in Australia.
“They came back to us with a whole list of companies, including names and contact details, and set up over thirty scheduled meetings,” explains Julie. “It was just fantastic.”
Julie is certain that working with SDI has expanded the company’s scope and its overseas potential.
“We’re very close to signing a new contract in Korea, with a company that SDI’s Korean team introduced us to,” says Julie.
“And we’ve signed a contract in Australia with a company that didn’t attend AusBiotech but was on the list of contacts provided by SDI.”
Solid Form Solutions now has three dedicated members of staff developing business opportunities in the UK and Europe, the US and Asia and is continuing to explore new markets.
“We’ve just been on a trade mission to Japan with SDI and we have plans to explore Singapore next.”
Julie’s advice to other companies thinking about leaping into the unknown: “Use the SDI support. They have a wealth of knowledge. And do your preparation before you go. Don’t just rely on footfall at the stand, schedule meetings in advance.”
Read more about SDI's support to visit potential markets
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