Why Plymouth is teaming up with Leipzig for the greater good

Why Plymouth is teaming up with Leipzig for the greater good

By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor, @WTelfordHerald

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TRADE CLUB: German business bosses meet Devon Chamber’s George Cowcher


A DELEGATION of German businesses visited Plymouth to seek new customers and partners and is likely to set up an “export club” with Devon Chamber of Commerce.

Seven businessmen and women from the East German city of Leipzig spent several days in Plymouth, attending the Devon Business Show at the Pavilions.

They also met Plymouth firms and talked about potential deals.

And after a meeting with Devon Chamber of Commerce there is the possibility of setting up a Leipzig/Plymouth Chamber Club which will foster links between the two cities.

James Parsons (above), English-born director of Leipzig languages business ICC Sprachinstitut, said more German companies are likely to visit Plymouth later this year.

And Plymouth enterprises could also attend the prominent MUT Leipzig business event for mid-sized ventures, in November 2016, which annually attracts 3,500 people.

“We are working on an agreement with the Chamber,” Mr Parsons said. “It is to intensify the business relations between the two regions.

“It would be a committee for companies that want to export to Germany.”

He said Liepzig, a centre of European trade for 1,000 years, is ideally situated to hit several big markets on the continent.

“Amazon, BMW, Porche and DHL can’t be wrong,” he said. “They are in Leipzig for the logistics, infrastructure and workforce.

“The city is still investing and hungry for business.

“There were another five German companies that wanted to come on this trip to Plymouth but were not able to organise their schedule,” he added.

“But they want to come over in the autumn and we’ll put a programme together for them.”

Nicole Dietz (above, with colleagues from Leipzig at the Devon Business Show), also of ICC Sprachinstitut, said she was impressed by Plymouth.

“It’s a good place for business events,” she said. “It’s a big city, but not too big, and not old-fashioned but modern.”


Lars Winkler (above), managing director of BoMaBi, a company which makes colouring books and posters for children, said: “I love Plymouth, it’s a beautiful city and I like the port, and its history, and I’m impressed by the people.

“I’ll come back here with my family – and for business.”

The company has grown from a sole-trader start-up to employing five graphic artists and now signing a deal to supply 680,000 products to a single German retail chain.

Mr Winkler said: “Next year we want to expand into the UK so it’s important to talk to retailers.”

Patrick Jager’s (above right, with delegates from Leipzig in Plymouth) firm Digital Compass is an email archiving service, using the cloud.


“We store millions of emails from bid companies and if they want to search for something we can find it in one second,” he said.

He founded the firm in 2006 and it has expanded into German-speaking Austria and Switzerland, and he said: “We now want to find out how we can get into the UK market.

“Plymouth is an interesting city with a mix of businesses from the waterfront to industrial.

“And Plymouth is not as expensive as an expansion into London.”


Andre Hemker’s (above right) with director Adam Liardet of Audax Global Solutions


Word Craft is an internet-based translation business which helps commercial customers to translate important documents into any language, says Mr Hemker.

“We’d like to get contracts with companies here that have great products but don’t know how to sell into different markets,” he said. “Plymouth is really beautiful. I used to live in Northumberland, with the Geordies. I have never been down south before, it’s really English here, in a good way.”

George Cowcher (above), chief executive of Devon Chamber of Commerce, said it was “flattering” that German businesses wanted to link with Plymouth.”

I’m looking for us to create a relationship with Germany, the potential to create a German Club with Leipzig,” he said.

“That would identify companies that want to buy and sell in Germany and the UK, and a product directory to match-make businesses.”


Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/how-can-plymouth-businesses-benefit-from-alliance-with-leipzig/story-29427557-detail/story.html#ixzz4CJyBcI00

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