Board of Trading Awards winner
Clare Reynolds (marketing manufacturer), manufacturing student, Rob Smith (director), Dr Liam Fox MP (international Trade Secretary)

Supplying a range of gripping aids to over 50 countries, The Active Hands Company has been selected by the Department of International Trade to receive a Board of Trade award for championing free trade through exporting and inspiring others to export.

A manufacturer of gripping aids ideal for tetraplegics, quadriplegics, those with cerebral palsy, stroke recovery or any disability that affects hand function, The Active Hands Company supplies a range of products suitable for a variety of activities from DIY to sports.

Working with the Department for International Trade – which offers free advice to UK companies to assist with trading overseas – and International Trade Advisor Pete West, Active Hands has managed to raise its presence and distribution network overseas.

“We are very thankful to Pete West, our International Trade Advisor for the assistance that we have received from him over the last few years,” commented Clare Reynolds, Marketing Manager at Active Hands.

“His advice has helped us to attend overseas exhibitions and to attract business in those locations.

“He has advised us on exporting regulations and guided us through trading with a variety of countries. He has also helped us to ascertain funding to enable Active Hands to attend exhibitions, which is all-important for small companies such as ours.”

Nominated and selected by civil servants from the Department for International Trade, the Board of Trade awards are bestowed to companies the Department works with that have shown exceptional innovation, delivered prosperity to their local communities, and championed free trade.

Clare Reynolds (marketing manufacturer), manufacturing student, Rob Smith (director), Dr Liam Fox MP (international Trade Secretary)
Clare Reynolds (marketing manufacturer), manufacturing student, Rob Smith (director) being awarded prize by Dr Liam Fox MP (international Trade Secretary)

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, commented: “My international economic department is delighted to have awarded Active Hands a Board of Trade Award, recognising its exporting success. Its exceptional and innovative gripping tool is now being shared in over 50 countries, demonstrating the global demand for British goods and services.

“The Board of Trade Awards highlight businesses that deserve special recognition for their role within their communities, showcasing successes in trade and investment across the whole of the UK, from all sectors and businesses of all shapes and sizes.”

In particular, the Awards committee highlighted Active Hands’ humble beginning, starting as a product for the personal use that has now been shared and changed the lives of others, including athletes in the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games.

Additionally, the committee was impressed with the company’s export success, helping grow its business by 25 percent in the last year.

Clare commented: “We wanted to share our gripping aids with people around the world so that they too can access new activities or regain lost passions. The assistance of the Department for International Trade has been valuable in achieving this.

“In the last year, we have released a product for those with limb difference (missing either fingers or hand parts) and we have a new product in the pipeline for holding small diameter items.”

The Active Hands Company was presented with an engraved Board of Trade medallion and a framed certificate and can now use of the Board of Trade award winner logo on its website, as well as on its products.

Discussing the company’s growth, Rob Smith, Director (and inventor of the product) finished: “We have also benefitted from the expertise of the digital marketing advisor, Sarah Lumley-Holmes (who has sadly left to start up her own company), who has helped us with improving our website and social media. She also advised on which sections of our website were valuable to translate to increase our traffic from other countries.

“Our products are aimed at a niche market and it is therefore often difficult to reach our target markets, particularly in foreign countries. The help of the Department for International Trade has been invaluable in helping us to spread the word about our products and draw in new revenue for the company.”

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